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Pro-democracy activists rally in Thailand, call for general elections

(Web Desk) -Hundreds of pro-democracy activists have staged peaceful protest rallies in Thailand, calling for general elections in the Southeast Asian country this year after repeated delays imposed by the ruling junta.

The protesters, wearing Pinocchio masks that portrayed the country’s military junta leader and Prime Minister Prayut Chan-ocha with a long nose, rallied in the capital, Bangkok on Saturday, calling the premier a “liar” for delaying the general elections promised this year.

Chan-ocha, a former army chief, has promised and postponed elections several times since he came to power following a coup in 2014.

The latest date set for the elections was November this year but the military-appointed legislature made changes in the election law last month, raising the possibility of another delay to early 2019.

“Today I came here and demonstrate because I want to call in for election in Thailand this year and I really hope that if we have elections, the people can decide for our future,” said a pro-democracy activist in the Thai capital.

“Enough with the lies. Time’s up for dictatorship. It’s the people’s time now. We must vote this year,” said another, Sirawith Seritiwat.

The activists in the capital held up three fingers, symbolizing their demands in the slogan, “Elections must take place this year. Down with dictatorship. Long live democracy.”

The main organizer of the protests was the Democracy Restoration Group (DRG), which had announced a road map of peaceful protests for every Saturday in March and May. The largest gathering is expected between May 19 and 22 to mark the four-year anniversary of the coup.

Thailand has experienced more coups than any other country in contemporary history since the Siamese Revolution of 1932, when over six centuries of absolute monarchy were ended.

 

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