Thai authorities declared a strict new state of emergency for the capital on Thursday, a day after a student-led protest against the country’s traditional establishment saw an extraordinary moment in which demonstrators heckled a royal motorcade. After the pre-dawn declaration, riot police moved in to clear out demonstrators who after a day of rallies and confrontation had gathered outside Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha's office to push their demands. Those demands include the former general's stepping down, constitutional changes, and reform of the monarchy, the AP reports. Several top leaders of the protest movement were taken into custody. Police said they had made 22 arrests. The emergency decree bans unauthorized gatherings of more than five people in the capital.
The protest Wednesday in Bangkok's historic district was the third major gathering by student-led activists who have been pushing the boundaries of what is considered acceptable—and legal—language by publicly questioning the role of Thailand's monarchy in the nation's power structure. The protest—held on the anniversary of a 1973 student-led uprising against a military dictatorship—was complicated by the presence of royalist counter protesters who had gathered both to show support for the government and to greet the royal family as they traveled to and from a religious ceremony in the area. That led to a moment captured in photos and video that circulated widely on social media in which protesters gestured and shouted just feet from the royal motorcade
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