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New protest movement emerging on Bangkok's streets

Thailand's Red and Yellow Shirt protesters may have dispersed since the start of the coup, but the streets are seeing a new movement.

BANGKOK: Thailand's Red and Yellow Shirt protesters may have dispersed since the start of the coup, but the streets are seeing a new movement - one that is demanding for elections and for the junta to step down.

After 12 coups since the country established a constitutional monarchy in 1932, many Thais have become wary of military intervention.

In retaliation, they have taken to the streets to speak up against the coup and its leaders.

What started out as small gatherings have quickly grown in scale, even becoming increasingly hostile in nature.

"Our role is to provide information regarding the election process and democracy,” said Worawut Butrmatra, League of Liberal Thammasat for Democracy. “But following the military coup, our mission now is to block the coup and demand an election."

These anti-coup protesters believe that the army is blocking the reconciliation process and manipulating the flow of information.

They now rely on social media to communicate.

“Social media means we are able to provide information, the truth behind what is happening in the protests,” said Worawut. “For example, today the army announced that the protesters are paid to be here and have an agenda to disrupt the political process.

“But the truth is everyone here just wants an election... The problem is the army might be trying to provoke a violent situation."

The military junta is desperately trying to stop the protests.

But they seem ill-prepared to deal with the anti-coup groups that have no clear leadership and can vanish as quickly as they appear.

"Of course all movements have to have some who are leaders; they can't just come and gather,” said Colonel Weerachon Sukondhapatipak, deputy army spokesperson. “We are working on identifying who the leaders are and we will talk to them."

The League of Liberal Thammasat for Democracy however, maintains that they have no traditional hierarchy and that rumours they are actually the Red Shirts in disguise are false.

"We have no real leadership,” said Worawut. “Some people say we are the Red Shirts or we are trying to incite unrest… But if you look, all the Red Shirts (leaders) have already been detained.

“We are just students and regular citizens."

Regardless of who they are, the junta warns that it will have to take action if no compromise can be reached with the protesters.

"We have our team to negotiate, to talk, to explain the reasons for a common understanding,” said Col Weerachon. “After that we will enforce the law."

For now the army remains secretive about its future plans for the country, doing little to dispel allegations that it is oppressing democracy.

And if the junta remains taciturn about its future intentions, then this small but vocal opposition will only grow larger and more assertive.

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