Protesters took to the Bangkok streets for the second time in a week to call for the ousting of Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha on Saturday, August 7, 2021. The protesters initially called for a march to the Royal Palace, which prompted the positioning of shipping containers, razor wire, and rail tankers to prevent protesters from reaching the sacred site.
Police also moved in to quickly to quell the protest and make arrests before it started at 1 p.m. local time, prompting protest organizers to call for changes in their destination, first rallying protesters toward Government House before finally setting the prime minister’s residence as the destination.
Despite the increase in numbers, protesters were held off by barricades backed by police armed with tear gas and rubber bullets, forcing demonstrations to retreat and eventually disperse later in the evening.
It is estimated that over a thousand protesters participated in the demonstration, which followed a sustained lull in activity due to a resurgence in COVID-19 cases throughout Thailand. However, the movement has staged protests with increasing numbers and intensity since July 18, which marked the one-year anniversary of the large-scale student protests in 2020.
The initial call by protesters for the resignation of the current government, fresh elections, a new constitution, and a reformation of the nation’s monarchy have recently been amplified and the mainly younger demographic has been joined by citizens of all ages frustrated by the government’s COVID-19 response, the slow vaccine rollout, and the economic fallout that has come as a result.