There was a carnival atmosphere in Bangkok as an estimated rally of 160,000 protesters marched to Thailand’s Government House.
They have vowed to step up their campaign for a “people’s council” to run the country following the dissolution of parliament. But protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban has given no indication on how he hoped to achieve this.
He was dismissive of the snap election called by the country’s Prime Minister Yingluck Shinwatra which is expected at the start of February. He said dissolving parliament was not the protesters’ aim.
Participants in the rally echoed that sentiment.
“Even with the dissolution of parliament it is not the solution. We must continue so we can have a constitution that will reform the country to get rid of those who are corrupt, get them out of the country,” said Kantaporn Sawasdirote.
Wallop Phuasaphol, another protester, added: “They want to control the next election which means they are going to go back and be corrupt again.”
The rally was peaceful, with none of the violence which erupted last week. The demonstrators made no attempt to get inside the grounds of Government House but said they would camp there overnight.
Yingluck Shinwatra, who announced the snap election on state television, will stand again it has been confirmed by the head of her party. But it is unclear if the opposition Democrat Party will take part.
The demonstrators claim her government is controlled by her brother, ousted leader Thaskin Shinawatra.
The wave of protests was sparked by a government bid to introduce an amnesty that would have cancelled his conviction for fraud.