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Thousands of protesters demanding new elections, constitution in Thailand

Bangkok, ThailandThousands of protesters demanding sweeping political reforms gathered around Bangkok's Democracy Monument on Saturday in the largest demonstration since a state of emergency was declared in March to hinder the spread of COVID-19.

Even though epidemic prevention measures are in place, rally leaders say they are not going to back down and organize more gatherings if their demands are not met. University students and young professionals were the people who voted for change in elections last year, only to see the pro-democracy party dissolved in early February.

They are becoming more and more dissatisfied as laws continue to be limit what the people can say and do, and throughout the day, designated speakers made the crowd's demands clear: the dissolution of parliament, changes in leadership and constitutional reform. Scuffles did break out as police attempted to fence protesters in and get them away from the monument, but demonstrators were able to use their greater numbers to push back. Other reported instances were allegedly between protesters and suspected plain-clothes police thought to be attempting to sabotage the rallies.

Protesters also held up posters showing dissidents who've disappeared in recent years to shine a light upon voices being silenced. "I want the government to be dissolved. Also, there are a lot of people criticizing the government and they are not safe, but it should be their right as a Thai citizen," said a protester.

"We want to have a full democracy here. The one that we can criticize our leader, and we can like examine them, we can like evaluate them, and we can talk about like 'ah, this is correct or not correct', or something. So I think that's our goal," said another protester. The protests were streamed live on social media, so that anyone who could not make it could still participate.

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