Thailand’s parliament will hold a special session next week in an effort to ease political tensions after a wave of anti-government protests, officials said Tuesday (October 20).

The extraordinary session will be held on Oct. 26-27 to allow all sides to share views, build more understanding and reduce the conflict through the parliamentary mechanism, they said.

The protesters are demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, the convening of parliament to amend the Constitution enacted under military rule, and reforms of the kingdom’s previously unassailable monarchy.

They also want authorities to free protest leaders arrested amid mass protests last week and to revoke a state of emergency declared last Thursday, which bans gatherings of more than four people and restricts media coverage.

The police have reportedly moved to shut down several online media outlets for allegedly violating the emergency decree by reporting information detrimental to national security.

Among the outlets is Voice TV, owned by the family of populist former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who was ousted in a 2006 coup. They also include Prachatai, The Reporters and The Standard.

The Facebook page of Free Youth Group is reported to be likewise targeted in the clampdown.


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