Thai protesters took to the streets of Bangkok again on Saturday afternoon and evening, in yet another show of defiance against the government. Unlike Friday night’s large rally — which police broke up using water cannons, tear gas and waterborne irritants — the demonstrators fanned out to multiple locations and were dispersing on their own around 8 p.m.
Nevertheless, tensions in the city remain high. Organizers called on participants to go home, rest and fight another day.
For all our coverage, visit out Turbulent Thailand page. Here’s how things have unfolded so far:
Saturday, Oct. 17 (Bangkok time)
8:00 p.m. Although participants have been saying there are no leaders and that “everyone is a leader,” announcements can be heard telling people to leave and gather again tomorrow. Stay tuned on social media, they say. Groups of demonstrators are heeding the call at several places, including Lat Phrao intersection, which appears to have been the site of tonight’s biggest rally. It sounds like more protests and transport disruptions are in store.
7:50 p.m. Former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, whose government was replaced by a junta led by current Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha in 2014, speaks out with a Twitter message directed squarely at him.
She asks whether Prayuth remembers when protesters demanded her resignation six years ago. Yingluck writes that back then, Prayuth had asked her a question: “Whether I can continue my government?”
“Today,” she says, “the same incident has happened to you, when more than 100,000 students and the Thai people demand you resign. … I hope you can recall what you asked me and I hope you would decide immediate to choose the strategy to bring the country to peace and prosperity.”
7:25 p.m. Social media posts suggest some of the protests are beginning to disperse peacefully, answering rally organizers’ call to head home by 8 p.m.
6:50 p.m. Like Joshua Wong, fellow Hong Kong activist Nathan Law also tweeted earlier this evening in support of the Thai protesters. Meanwhile, big crowds are still out on the streets of Bangkok.
5:02 p.m. Protest organizers call on participants to wrap it all up by 8 p.m. this evening, urging them to rest and fight another day. But will the authorities let the rallies run their course or step in like they did last night?
“We will fight together until the dark powers are over,” activist group Free Youth tweets.
4:50 p.m. Another day, another sizable crowd marching through Bangkok.
4:30 p.m. The lack of public transportation certainly isn’t stopping everyone. Here are a couple of early pictures from today’s rallies.
Protesters show the three-finger salute at Udomsuk station in Bangkok on Oct. 17. (Reuters)
An activist covered in blue paint — possibly symbolizing the blue-colored water police fired on demonstrators yesterday. (Reuters)
Read More: Thailand latest: Yingluck tweets at Prayuth amid Saturday protests