At least 10,000 people have registered and taken part in park runs across Thailand to protest against the military backed government of Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha and call for more political freedom.
In Bangkok, many anti-government protesters shouted “Prayuth, get out!” and “Long live democracy” as they jogged past a light security presence. Parallel events were held in other cities across the country.
Many showed the three-finger salute used during the anti-government protests in 2014, a gesture featured in the Hunger Games series that symbolises unity amid struggle.
The main run in Bangkok was considered one of the biggest shows of dissent against Mr Prayuth’s government. It followed a large rally held last month by Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit, a billionaire who has emerged as a fierce critic of the prime minister.
“We want people to feel that to come out and demand our rights and express ourselves is something that can be done,” Tanawat Wongchai, who organised Sunday’s event, was quoted by Reuters news agency as saying.
In another park of the capital, a smaller “Walk to Cheer Uncle” event took place where some 3,000 had put their names down for a similar event in another Bangkok parkto show support for the government and Mr Prayuth – Thais have nicknamed the Prime Minister Uncle Tu.
The former military ruler was returned to power as prime minister in elections last year.
Thailand has been buffeted by political instability for years, largely a battle between supporters of the military and former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra.
The country’s military has a history of intervening in politics and has seized power 12 times since the end of the absolute monarchy in 1932. Mr Prayuth, a retired general, led the military coup that removed Thaksin’s sister Yingluck in 2014. (Source: BCC)