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Bangkok food vendors race to feed protesters at march on German embassy

Street food vendors were cheered as they raced to the scene of a large anti-monarchy protest in Bangkok, Thailand. Thousands of anti-monarchy protesters marched towards the German embassy on Monday evening (26 October) demanding action over the Thai king's lengthy presence in Germany, which has sparked controversy in both countries. The hawkers have become unlikely heroes of the anti-government protests in Thailand -- arriving at sites longs before the crowds. They have baffled onlookers with the speed that they appear, often before police, media or protesters. Food sellers say they follow the social media announcements from the protesters' accounts and then race to the scene as soon as a new protest venue is announced. They typically sell fried chicken, fish balls, and sausages, from carts attached to motorcycles. The snacks cost between 10 baht (0.32 dollars) and 20 baht (0.64 dollars). "We have to follow the news very closely. We have formed a chat group after protesters gave us the nickname 'CIA'," said one seller. One seller Petch told the news agency Reuters that she and other vendors had created their own group on a messaging app and named it "CIA mobile fishballs for protests". Other vendors have even put stickers on their carts in support of the protests and refused to serve police or soldiers. "I’m both here to sell, and to support the protesters. I hate Prayuth very much,” one said, complaining his income had fallen under the current military government. The protests have been ongoing since the start of the year but large demonstrations erupted earlier this month with rallies across the country. The Prime Minister issued a 'severe state of emergency' in response to the unrest but this was recently rescinded. Dozens of protest organisers and leaders have been arrested.

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