Insane World

Bangkok hostels offer secret refuge to protesters, sometimes free

As thousands of protesters demonstrate against the monarch and the government in Thailand, many hostels across Bangkok opened their doors to give weary demonstrators a refuge, sometimes for free.

With protesters at times facing water cannon and playing cat and mouse with police in sweltering conditions until late into the evenings, many have been sleeping on the street.

Plenty of hotels and hostels in usually bustling Bangkok, which is virtually empty of foreign tourists since authorities shut Thailand’s borders to most commercial flights in April to contain the coronavirus.

Student protests began in mid-July, demanding more democracy as radical and antithetical to the culture, which typically reveres the monarchy as semi-divine.

They also call for the resignation of Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha. The former army chief had seized power in a 2014 coup before he was appointed as premier after controversial elections last year.

Over the past four years of Mr Chan-ocha’s rule, several security laws that restricts freedom of speech and criticism of the government were enacted.

Thailand is one of the rare counties that punishes those who insult the monarchy with a maximum sentence of 15 years.