BANGKOK (Reuters) – Thai protesters, led by student groups, are returning to the streets calling for the ousting of the government less than two years after a general election was held. One group has openly criticised the monarchy, in a rare show of defiance.
Here are the major events that have led up to these protests:
May 22, 2014 – Military stages a coup, ousting an elected government for the second time in a decade, citing the need to restore order in the face of street demonstrations against a populist government linked to telecoms tycoon Thaksin Shinawatra, who himself was ousted in a coup in 2006.
Oct. 13, 2016 – Constitutional monarch King Bhumibol Adulyadej dies after a 70-year reign. His son becomes King Maha Vajiralongkorn.
April 6, 2017 – A military-backed constitution is ratified after being approved in a referendum, with changes requested by King Vajiralongkorn that increased his powers, paving the way for an election.
Feb. 7, 2019 – The king rebukes his sister, Princess Ubolratana, over a Thaksin-linked party’s nomination of her as its candidate for prime minister. The party is later dissolved by a court before the election.
March 24, 2019 – General elections held amid complaints of cheating and vote-buying. Former army chief Prayuth Chan-ocha, who led the 2014 coup and was then prime minister of a military government, heads a pro-army party that wins the most votes.
Nov. 20, 2019 – Court disqualifies rising opposition figure Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit, leader of the Future Forward Party, from parliament prompting thousands to rally in Bangkok.
Jan. 12, 2020 – More than 12,000 people join an anti-government “Run Against Dictatorship” in the biggest show of dissent since the 2014 coup. A rival group holds a run in support of Prayuth.
Feb. 21 – Future Forward Party is banned for illegally taking a loan from its billionaire leader, Thanathorn, prompting small student protests on university campuses.
March 22 – Given restrictions to stop the novel coronavirus, student protests peter out but online criticism of government continues, with some also directing criticism at the king. The hashtag “#whydoweneedaking?” is posted more than 1 million times.
June 8 – Small protests held to call for an investigation into the disappearance of an exiled government critic in Cambodia.
June 15 – Prayuth warns political activists not to criticise the monarchy.
June 24 – Protesters gather to mark the anniversary of the end of absolute monarchy in 1932.
July 18 – About 2,500 protesters gather at Democracy Monument, one of the largest demonstrations since the coup, calling for the dissolution of parliament and new elections.
Aug. 4 – Speakers call for the monarchy’s power to be curbed at a rally attended by hundreds in Bangkok.
(Reporting by Chayut Setboonsarng; Editing by Robert Birsel)