Visuals from Thailand's recent protests have gone viral on social media. For the last few days, thousands of pro-democracy activists have taken to the streets of Thailand, calling for administrative changes. They have ignored a government-declared state of emergency and a shutdown of public transportation systems to continue their protests for the fifth straight day on Sunday.
Why are they protesting?
The protesters are calling for Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha to leave office, the constitution to be amended to make it more democratic and the nation's monarchy to undergo reform.
For the uninitiated, Thailand has a constitutional monarchy and has over the years been governed by several military leaders and the occasional democratically selected ruler. Prayuth Chan-ocha had come to power through a military coup in 2014. While there had been elections held in 2019, he continues to be at the helm of the government.
Since when are they protesting? What has been the official response?
Today marks the fifth consecutive day of protests in the country. Many Twitter users have no taken to the social media platform to broadcast further details about when and where the protests will be held on Sunday.
"The anti-government protesters are expected to meet at the Victory Monument in Bangkok before 4 pm this afternoon. Motorists and pedestrians are advised to avoid the area. Expect this BTS station to be closed soon," tweeted one user.
Despite the fact that officials have locked down the transit system and put an emergency in place, protesters continue to gather in thousands. While Saturday's protest had been non-violent, a day earlier, the police had fired water cannons at peaceful protesters in Bangkok.
The protests have drawn international comments, with many putting out solidarity posts on social media platforms. Others have shared photos and videos of solidarity marches in other parts of the world.
"Despite metro shutdown, brave Thai defied draconian laws, flocked to streets and made their voices heard. Their determination for Thailand democracy cannot be deterred," tweeted Hong Kong activist Joshua Wong.
The situation has also drawn comments from Thai celebrities who have begun using the social media platforms to send out solidarity messages. Thai-American K-Pop star Nichkhun who is better known to his fans as the 'Thai Prince' took to Twitter stating that this was not something he could "stand idly by". The artiste who has a massive social media following is a member of popular South Korean boy band 2PM.
"The use of violence is something I cannot watch and stand idly by. Violence has never helped anything. I hope everyone stays safe... and take care of yourselves," said Nichkhun.
Miss Universe Thailand, Amanda Obdam also took to Instagram with a similar message. "A picture says a thousand words. Enough is enough!
Violence is NEVER the answer. Your job is to protect the people not harm them. #SaveThailand" she wrote.