Thai LGBT Activists Raise Pride Flag In Anti-Government Rally

Thai LGBT activists raise pride flag in anti-government rally
 Pro-democracy protest in Bangkok

BANGKOK (Reuters) – Hundreds of Thai LGBT activists and allies raised rainbow flags on Saturday evening as they called for democracy and equal rights, the latest in a series of youth protests calling for the government to step down.

Several youth-led demonstrations have sprung up across the country since last week, when thousands of Thai activists defied a coronavirus ban on gatherings and staged one of the largest street rallies since a 2014 military coup.

a group of people sitting in front of a crowd: Pro-democracy protest in Bangkok© Reuters/JORGE SILVA Pro-democracy protest in Bangkok

The activists on Saturday danced and sang and performed stand-up comedy sketches making jabs at the government of Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, a former army chief who ousted an elected government six years ago. Pride flags were waved against the backdrop of Bangkok’s Democracy Monument.

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a group of people standing next to an umbrella: Pro-democracy protest in Bangkok© Reuters/JORGE SILVA Pro-democracy protest in Bangkok

“We’re here today mainly to call for democracy. Once we achieve democracy, equal rights will follow,” said a 21-year-old activist who went by a made-up name, Viktorious Nighttime.

“The LGBT group do not yet have equal rights in society, so we’re calling for both democracy and equality,” added Viktorious, who was wearing a glittery tiara and a face mask.

a group of people holding wine glasses: Pro-democracy protest in Bangkok© Reuters/CHALINEE THIRASUPA Pro-democracy protest in Bangkok

The calls came after Thailand’s cabinet backed a civil partnership bill earlier this month that would recognise same-sex unions with almost the same rights as married couples.

a group of people standing in front of a store: Pro-democracy protest in Bangkok© Reuters/JORGE SILVA Pro-democracy protest in Bangkok

Saturday’s gathering was the latest in a series of protests under the Free Youth movement, which has issued three demands: the dissolution of parliament, an end to harassment of government critics, and amendments to the military-written constitution.

“Even if they don’t step down from power today, we want to let them know that we won’t go anywhere, we will be here,” said a 21-year-old protestor who gave her name as Yaya. “Even if they get rid of us, our ideology will never die, we will pass this on to the next generation.”



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