Thai protesters vow to march for election this year



BANGKOK: Pro-democracy activists protesting in the Thai capital on Saturday said that they will march on the country’s seat of power later this month to demand that an election be held this year.

The planned date — May 22 — will be the fourth anniversary of the bloodless coup that overthrew the elected government and brought the current military junta to power.

Thai junta leader Prayuth Chan-ocha has repeatedly promised to hold a general election but each time has pushed the date back, citing different reasons, leading to rising frustration. He most recently promised to have an election by next February.

The activists’ decision to march on Government House was announced during a rally Saturday on the campus of a Bangkok university in front of a small gathering of protesters. The group has repeatedly defied laws that ban political gatherings of more than five people, in order to keep their demands in the headlines.

“If they don’t give us what we want we will go to Government House and stand our ground to let them know what the people want,” said Rangsiman Rome, a leading student activist.

Government House has been the scene of several key protests during political unrest that has unfolded in Thailand for more than a decade.