1008 GMT February 27, 2021
Protests have been stepped up this week despite threats by Prayuth, a former junta ruler, to use all available laws against protesters who break them and charges of insulting the monarchy against several protest leaders, Reuters reported.
Hundreds of people gathered in both Nonthaburi and Bang Na, to the northwest and southeast of Bangkok respectively.
“We have had too many years of corrupt dictatorship. We want an election in which our voices are really heard,” said one 24-year-old recent graduate, who gave only her nickname “A”.
Protesters are seeking the removal of Prayuth, accusing him of engineering an election last year to keep power that he seized from an elected government in a 2014 coup. He has said the vote was fair and he will not resign.
Protesters have also broken taboos by seeking reforms to curb the powers of the monarchy of King Maha Vajiralongkorn, saying the institution has enabled decades of military domination.
The palace has made no comment since protests began. The king has said that despite the demonstrations, the protesters are loved “all the same”.
After four months of rallies, sometimes involving tens of thousands of demonstrators, the mood is getting tougher, with protest leaders warning they are not prepared to compromise, according to AFP.
Slogans and insults against the monarchy – unthinkable only a short time ago – are proliferating, while riot police showed last week they are ready to take firm action against the rallies.
The student-led movement has gained a strong base on the streets and social media and experts say the "Red Shirts", a once-vociferous group who led major street protests a decade ago, may join the ranks.
The movement is calling for prime minister – who came to power in a coup in 2014 – to quit, for constitutional changes and for reform of the monarchy.