World

Thais marshalling mass protests with hand signals

BANGKOK : Hands pointing above the head means I need an umbrella; Hands held over the head means I need a helmet; Hands crossed over the chest means enough supplies.

Thai protesters are learning a whole new language, developed within days to coordinate among crowds of thousands of people at demonstrations that have swollen in defiance of a government ban and despite the arrest of many protest leaders.

"Everyone has been helping each other out," said 19-year-old Riam, who like most protesters would only give one name.

"At first, we had to work out what people were saying, but with the gestures, it's pretty easy to guess."

Some of the words in the Thai hand signal vocabulary are the same as those used by protesters in Hong Kong. Some they made up themselves and have now gained common usage.

CURB POWERS

Three months of protests in Thailand have sought to bring down Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-o-cha, a former junta leader, to reform the monarchy and curb the powers of King Maha Vajiralongkorn.

Meanwhile, a Thai court yesterday ordered the suspension of an online TV station critical of the government, which has accused it of violating emergency measures aimed at ending three months of protests.

Voice TV had also been found to have breached the Computer Crime Act by uploading "false information," digital ministry spokesman Putchapong Nodthaisong told reporters.

Mr Rittikorn Mahakhachabhorn, editor-in-chief of Voice TV, said it would continue broadcasting until the court order arrived.

"We insist that we have been operating based on journalistic principles and we will continue our work presently," he said. - REUTERS

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