Mahouts in Thailand have been protesting against plans to nationalise the nation's elephants, which supporters say will cut poaching and the illegal trade in wild animals.
Hundreds of handlers of the Asian elephants gathered on Thursday in an area set aside for training them in the ancient capital Ayutthaya.
The elephant, which is Thailand's national symbol, has traditionally been used for logging in the country, but is now used mostly in tourism.
The government is keen to approve the draft Wild Animals Preservation and Protection Bill, which will transfer the ownership of domesticated elephants to a state-run agency.
It is hoped that by keeping tabs on the exact number of elephants that are used for work, it will make it harder for people to sell them to illegal traders or to mistreat them.
The mahouts claim the bill will not protect animals in the way it intends, but will punish those who work with them instead.
One of the protesters, Netiwin Amornshing, 36, from Surin, said the bill was unfair.
"The bill will not resolve the problems," he told Thailand's The Nation.
"The government should increase penalties instead of passing a new law to control everything." More....