Thailand's Prime Minister Signals Tougher Measures Against Anti-Government Protests Premier Prayuth Chan-ocha, who seized power in a coup six years ago, issued a statement addressing months of unrest, promising to use "all" the country's laws to quash the protests.
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Thailand's Prime Minister Signals Tougher Measures Against Anti-Government Protests

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Thailand's Prime Minister Signals Tougher Measures Against Anti-Government Protests

Thailand's Prime Minister Signals Tougher Measures Against Anti-Government Protests

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NOEL KING, HOST:

Political unrest in Thailand shows no sign of ending. Today, the prime minister warned that the monarchy would use all possible laws against protesters who are demanding his removal and a new constitution. And dozens of people were injured in fighting with police outside of parliament yesterday. Here's Michael Sullivan with this report from Thailand.

MICHAEL SULLIVAN, BYLINE: Just a day after Tuesday's confrontation outside parliament, the worst violence between protesters and police in months. Thousands of anti-government demonstrators were added again last night in front of the Royal Thai police headquarters in the commercial heart of the capital.

(SOUNDBITE OF PROTEST AMBIENCE)

SULLIVAN: The protesters were angry at police for Tuesday's violence outside parliament, which included the use of water cannon against protesters and left dozens injured, with six suffering gunshot wounds.

They were also angry at lawmakers for refusing to consider changes to the Constitution that could have included reform of Thailand's powerful monarchy, one of the protesters key demands, along with the resignation of coup leader turned Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha.

THITINAN PONGSUDHIRAK: It was a kind of a foregone conclusion of what to expect.

SULLIVAN: Thitinan Pongsudhirak teaches political science at Bangkok's Chulalongkorn University.

PONGSUDHIRAK: On the establishment side, the established centers of power are very clear that they are not going to compromise. The three demands are, for them, unacceptable. The prime minister will not resign. There will be no rewrite of the Constitution. And there will be no reform of the monarchy.

SULLIVAN: And it's not just the establishment, he says, that's digging in, but the students as well.

PONGSUDHIRAK: Because the protest movement is dead-set on reforming Thailand and resetting the rules for a more democratic future where Thailand can move forward with equality as a base.

SULLIVAN: Protesters say their next rally will be next week in front of the Crown Property Bureau, the agency that helps manage the monarchy's multibillion-dollar fortune. They say they'll keep on for seven more days after that in hopes of achieving their goals, possibly setting the stage for more violence. For NPR News, I'm Michael Sullivan in Chiang Rai, Thailand.

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