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Thailand's Largest Pro-Democracy Protest In Years

The Deciport Daily Quick-Look: 17 August 2020

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More than 10,000 protesters turned out.

Security, Political // BLUF: More than 10,000 people turned out in the Thai capital of Bangkok to protest against the government on Sunday.

The protests began nearly a month ago and have been held almost everyday since.

Among the demands are: a revision of the constitution, the end to harassment of anti-government critics; and reforms within the monarchy. The protesters have also called for the Prime Minister, who took power in a military coup in 2014, to resign.

Anti-government protests have been rife in both the eastern and western hemispheres of the world in the last 24 months, with Hong Kong being particularly prominent.

(See Point 4 Below for Further Information)

The Daily Quick-Look for 17 August 2020

The Deciport Daily Quick-Look is your at-a-glance look at several key events and situations around the world over the last 24 hours. Each headline contains the link to its source report.

BLUF = Bottom Line Up Front.

FYSA = For Your Situational Awareness.

1. BELARUS - Security, Political: Protesters pack Belarus capital, Russia says military help available

FYSA: Belarusians chanting “Step down!” filled the centre of the capital Minsk on Sunday in the biggest protest so far against what they said was the fraudulent re-election a week ago of longtime president Alexander Lukashenko. Russia said it would offer Lukashenko military help if necessary, but there was no visible police presence at the protest, which attracted around 200,000 people, a Reuters reporter estimated. At least two protesters have died and thousands have been detained in a crackdown since the vote. (Reuters. See link in heading for further reading)

2. ISRAEL, BAHRAIN, OMAN - Political: Israel says it expects Bahrain and Oman to follow UAE in formalising ties

FYSA: Bahrain and Oman could be the next Gulf countries to follow the United Arab Emirates in formalising ties with Israel, Israel’s intelligence minister said on Sunday. Israel and the UAE announced on Thursday that they will normalise diplomatic relations, reshaping Middle East politics from the Palestinian issue to the fight against Iran. “In the wake of this agreement will come additional agreements, both with more Gulf countries and with Muslim countries in Africa,” Intelligence Minister Eli Cohen told Army Radio. “I think that Bahrain and Oman are definitely on the agenda. In addition, in my assessment, there is a chance that already in the coming year there will be a peace deal with additional countries in Africa, chief among them, Sudan,” he said. (Reuters. See link in heading for further reading)

3. SOMALIA - Security: Over a dozen killed in hours-long Mogadishu hotel siege

FYSA: At least 17 people have been killed and more than a dozen wounded in a gun and bomb attack by the al-Shabab armed group on an upscale beachfront hotel in Somalia's capital, officials and witnesses have said. The hotel's siege on Sunday ended after a three-hour fierce gun battle between al-Shabab fighters and security forces which began with a suicide car bombing, government spokesman Ismael Mukhtar Omar told the dpa news agency. (Al Jazeera. See link in heading for further reading)

4. THAILAND - Security, Political: Thailand's largest pro-democracy rally in years draws 10,000

FYSA: An anti-government protest in Thailand's capital Bangkok drew at least 10,000 people on Sunday, police said, making it the largest political demonstration the kingdom has seen in years. The student-led protests began nearly a month ago and have been held on an almost daily basis ever since. Demonstrators are demanding a revised constitution, an end to the harassment of government critics and reforms to the monarchy. The last demand is particularly sensitive in Thailand — anyone criticizing the monarchy faces between 1.5 to 15 years in jail. They also want Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, who took power in a 2014 military coup, to resign. (DW. See link in heading for further reading)

5. NEW ZEALAND - Political: Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern changes election date to 17 October

FYSA: Jacinda Ardern has moved the election date to 17 October and says she will not be changing it again. The Covid-19 outbreak in Auckland has forced the suspension of political campaigning and prompted calls to postpone the general election. The election will now be held on 17 October. It follows calls from coalition partner New Zealand First and both opposition partners to delay the election because of the effects Covid-19 restrictions would have on electioneering. Jacinda Ardern said she would not change the election date again. If a further outbreak followed: "My view is we will be sticking with the date we have," she said. The decision was hers alone, she says. "The date I've chosen actually is my view." "Even if I had not picked up the phone and contacted anyone I believe this is still the outcome I would have arrived at." "Covid is the world's new normal," she says. (RNZ. See link in heading for further reading)

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