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Thailand's royalist rally against anti-government protesters

THAILAND'S royalists rallied against pro-democracy protesters in the capital Bangkok today, despite the student-led movement demonstrating against the government, not the monarchy.

A small number of hardcore supporters of the king gathered by Bangkok’s Democracy Monument where anti-government protesters have held large demonstrations in recent weeks. 

Around 75 protesters from the group Vocational School Students Protecting the Nation chanted: “Long live the king” and sang songs associated with the country’s past nationalist movements.

Organiser Todsapol Manujaras vowed to stage counter-protests at any other pro-democracy demonstration, one of which was held later that day at another location in Bangkok. 

The anti-government protests have not been aimed at Thailand’s monarchy, which would be illegal and punishable by years in prison.

They have been aimed at Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha’s far-right government, which maintains a number of holdovers from the military government that ruled Thailand after a 2014 coup, led by the PM.

The protesters are calling for a new election, amendments to the constitution drafted by coup-makers and an end to harassment of government critics.

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