Bangkok’s Lumphini Park has become the main focus for the latest round of political protests in Thailand. On Sunday, an anti-government group called the People’s Army Against the Thaksin Regime began to gather outside the entrance to Lumphini Park. Estimates of how many people attended the protest on Sunday range from 1,000-4,000 with a number of those people continuing to camp out at the protest site. The area remains peaceful with food stalls set up and a stage has also been erected for protest leaders to address the crowds. Another anti-government protest rally has been held today by the opposition Democrat Party at a sports complex some kilometres away to the north-west of Lumphini Park. It is expected that some protesters will camp at this second rally site overnight with protest leaders calling for more people to join the rallies tomorrow.
Both protest sites are outside of the three districts of Bangkok that have been placed under the Internal Security Act (ISA) which has been put in place until August 10. It isn’t clear at the moment what the next course of action will be from the various anti-government groups but tomorrow (Wednesday, August 7) is being viewed as a key day with Parliament due to hear the first reading of the controversial amnesty bill. It has been widely anticipated that the various protest groups may all join together to converge on Parliament which lies in the Dusit area of Bangkok, a district covered by the ISA. Security has been beefed-up around Parliament and government buildings with a number of roads closed off and Thai riot police on standby.
Update: Saturday, August 10
The amnesty bill comfortably passed its first reading during the week and in the absence of any major problems from the anti-government protesters, the ISA was lifted earlier than planned. A small group of anti-Thaksin protesters still remain in place at Lumphini Park, but the rally organisers conceded the turn-out during the week had been far lower than hoped.