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47 Sunday, January 12, 2020 15:35

Thousands turn out to 'Run Against Dictatorship' in Thailand


Supporters of the anti-military FFP give the three-fingered salute of resistance made popular in The Hunger Games film [Gemunu Amarasinghe/AP Photo] Bangkok, Thailand - Daylight had barely broken when Nakorn W, 45, started limbering up and double-checking his laces. He was in one of Bangkoks largest parks, surrounded by thousands of other runners ready to begin their day with some exercise and a dose of dissent.

 Coming out to Run against dictatorship or in Thai, Wing Lai Lung, which means run to oust the uncle - a reference to Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha who is known as Uncle Tu - was their way of showing their rejection of the establishment. As the sun rose, organisers started blasting out Rap Against Dictatorships controversial rap song, My Country Has It, which slams the government for restricting citizens rights.

 As the music blared, runners started the six-kilometre (3.7 mile) route around the citys Wachirabenchathat or Rot Fai Park to shouts of Out with the dictatorship. Nakorn, a serial entrepreneur from the capital, told Al Jazeera he thought the turnout of people of all ages was remarkable. At least 10,000 people registered for the run, but organisers said about double that turned out on the day.

For many of us, we just want justice to be raised to a higher standard, Nakorn said.
Thousands registered to take part in Sundays Run Against Dictatorship which started before dawn in a Bangkok park [Caleb Quinley/Al Jazeera] It doesnt matter who the prime minister is for us, we just want justice.

Most business people feel that the economy hasnt improved. We have suffered and we miss better times. We run today to tell the government that we are not happy. Increasing unhappinessThe run is the latest demonstration of discontent against Prayuths government and the establishment. In mid-December last year, the Future Forward Party (FFP), which came third in last years election, held a rally calling for an end to the current government, demands that were echoed again on Sunday.

The FFP is facing a barrage of legal charges and its charismatic billionaire leader, Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit, has been disqualified from parliament.Thanathorn and other FFP members took part in the run, with Thanathorn finishing the circuit surrounded by scores of supporters eager for selfies with him.

Many runners were emotional after finishing the run.Police presence was small and there was no conflict or significant sign of tension. The political climate has been contentious since 2014 when Prayuth, then a general, took control in a coup. In the much-delayed general election last year, the FFPs strong showing stunned Thailand and the political elite even as Prayuths military-backed party secured enough votes for him to return to power as a civilian prime minister.

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Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit completed the circuit too, surrounded by his supporters [Caleb Quinley/Al Jazeera] Pro-democracy parties have said the election was a sham designed to keep.....


News Code: 377010  |  aljazeera
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