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Anti-Government Protests | until June 2022

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  • Anti-Government Protests | until June 2022

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    Anti-government protesters in violent clashes with police in Bangkok

    Pro-democracy activists clashed with police in Bangkok last night in response to the authorities’ use of teargas, rubber bullets, and water cannon. Thai PBS World reports that the clashes took place at the Din Daeng intersection in the capital, following a rally organised by protest group, the United Front for Thammasat and Demonstration.

    It’s understood a number of activists refused to leave when protest leaders called an end to the rally around 5.20pm. Requests for protesters to go home were ignored by some, who proceeded to launch various missiles at advancing police officers. According to the Thai PBS World report, the confrontation escalated into a series of street battles, resulting in a police kiosk being set on fire before officers extinguished the blaze.

    Krisana Pattanacharoen from the Royal Thai Police says there were 2 groups of activists and while 1 group was only interested in protesting against the government, the other group seemed intent on provoking unrest. According to Krisana, additional police officers were dispatched to the scene to prevent things escalating. He adds that, despite being provoked by protesters, the police adhered to the international rules of engagement in their attempts to restore order.

    According to the Erawan Emergency Medical Service Centre, at least 6 police officers have been injured, with some hurt by shots and explosives. It’s also reported that protesters set fire to another police kiosk near the Democracy Monument at around 7.30 pm, with things winding down around 9.15 pm and both sides dispersing.

  • #2
    Red Shirt leader urges pro-democracy protesters not to resort to violence

    Nattawut Saikuar, the Red Shirt leader, is cautioning young protesters that violent interactions with authority figures may play right into the authorities’ hands. Earlier today, Nattawut broadcasted live on Facebook to share his message of non-violence. He urged the protesters to think through their behaviour carefully. He also announced a car rally demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha. The RS leader went on to say that, “I think you don’t want to see the armed forces coming out. As for those in power, I am not so sure. You’d better watch your game carefully”.

    His Facebook announcement comes on the heels of several rallies held in Bangkok that deteriorated into violence. Police shot the protesters with rubber bullets, water cannons, and doused them in tear gas. Protesters shot back with … rocks, ping pong bombs, and firecrackers. The RS leader says rallies that devolve into violence are only to the benefit of those in power; or as Audre Lourde once famously said, “the master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house”.

    Despite condemnation from Amnesty International concerning the use of tear gas and rubber bullets, Metropolitan Police Bureau chief Pakapong Pongpetra says these methods are the “best strategy” to prevent violence by protesters. Further, police recently tossed out the idea that they might press charges against some of the parents of younger protesters for the alleged vandalism of their children.

    Nattawut is scheduled to lead a car parade this Sunday at 3 pm, demanding Prayut resigns. Previously, the PM said it wasn’t time for him to resign and warned politicians to watch their behaviour. The rally/parade will move along various routes. Nattawut says the rallies will be peaceful affairs that will avoid locations such as the Government House/PM’s residence in order to deprive officials of using their “best strategy” against protesters. There has been no mention if Prayut’s daughters passed along the message that their former classmates would like dad to take some time off from being a PM.


    • #3
      Violent scenes erupt in Bangkok at largest anti-government rally to date

      Yesterday’s anti-government protest in Bangkok led to violent scenes as police and protesters clashed near the Din Daeng intersection of the capital. The Bangkok Post reports that violence broke out towards the end of what was the largest “car mob” rally to date. It’s understood that at around 5pm, some younger protesters moved away from the main protests and gathered at the intersection. From there, firecrackers and bricks were hurled at police officers who had stacked up cargo containers to defend the area around the residence of PM Prayut Chan-o-cha. Police hit back with teargas and water cannon.

      According to the Bangkok Post report, Nattawut Saikuar, the red-shirt leader who’d organised yesterday’s rally, was greeted with boos when he arrived and pleaded with the protesters to go home. Nattawut had earlier promised that yesterday’s protest action would not be violent and given an undertaking that protesters would stay away from places like Government House and the PM’s residence.

      Yesterday’s “car mob” rally in Bangkok was supported by simultaneous events around the country, with protests taking place in Ayutthaya, Prachin Buri, Pathum Thani, Kanchanaburi, Khon Kaen, Lampang, Lamphun and Chiang Mai. Protesters are calling for the PM’s resignation, accusing his administration of gross mismanagement of the Covid-19 crisis.

      Following the clashes in the capital, national police chief Suwat Jangyodsuk says protesters were given advance warning, adding that the crowd control tactics used by police were in line with international standards, if not better.

      “Police take precautions to avoid injuries. Compared with crowd control operations executed in other countries, our approach is lighter.”


      • #4
        Protester in a coma, police say riot officers used rubber bullets

        Police deny claims that live ammunition was shot at protesters last night outside Bangkok’s Din Daeng police station. A young protester was reportedly shot in the neck and critically injured outside the station, but officers held a press conference outside the Metropolitan Police Bureau today and said only rubber bullets were used to control the crowd.

        The protester, who has yet to be identified and is said to be around 20 years old, is in a coma and being treated in the intensive care unit, according to a statement from Rajavithi Hospital. A bullet was found lodged in his brain stem and the shot caused a fracture in the cervical vertebrae, according to the hospital. The hospital did not specify what type of bullet was found, but police say it is a rubber bullet. Many on social media accused police of killing the protester.

        The Thalu Fah pro-democracy group led the protest yesterday, marching from Victory Monument to the Government House, calling on PM Prayut Chan-o-cha to resign and accusing him of mishandling the Covid-19 crisis. A report from the Bangkok Post says tear gas was used on protesters who entered restricted areas outside the Government House. Later that evening, crowds made their way to the Din Daeng intersection and the police station.

        Riot police have used water cannons, tear gas, and rubber bullets to break up crowds in major protests over the past year.


        • #5
          PM’s office to file charges against red-shirt leader over Sunday’s protest

          The government is seeking to press charges against red-shirt leader Nattawut Saikuar over protests in Bangkok on Sunday. According to a Bangkok Post report, Seksakol Atthawong from the office of PM Prayut Chan-o-cha, has confirmed that a complaint has been lodged with the Crime Suppression Division. Nattawut is accused of sedition and of violating the emergency decree and the disease prevention law, after encouraging protesters to join Sunday’s rally, which ended in violent clashes between participants and the police.

          Seksakol also alleges that Nattawut had been planning to instigate unrest, pointing out that he had called on protesters to join anti-government rallies, despite knowing that recent protests had resulted in violence. The Bangkok Post reports that the Anti-Money Laundering Office has been asked to investigate Nattawut’s financial history since 2010, with Seksakol saying he suspects the anti-government protests are being sponsored by overseas parties.

          On Sunday, anti-government protests clashed with police at the Din Daeng intersection in the capital. Media reports say activists hurled bricks and large firecrackers at police, who responded with water cannon and teargas. According to Piya Tawichai from the Metropolitan Police Bureau, 5 protesters were arrested on Sunday, 17 police officers were injured, and 18 government vehicles were damaged. Piya has apologised to local residents affected by the use of teargas and rubber bullets as crowd control officers attempted to drive protesters back.

          Meanwhile, it’s understood that a young protester who was shot in the neck by police remains in critical condition.


          • #6
            Protesters clash with police for over 4 hours in Bangkok, 5 officials injured

            After an over 4 hour clash with protesters, 5 police officers were reportedly injured in Bangkok last night.

            Piya Tawichai, the Police Major General from the Metropolitan Police Bureau says the Thalu Fah pro-democracy group gathered in front of the UN building on Ratchadamnoen Road at 2:00 pm yesterday. He says the group peacefully protested for about 2 hours. They ceased protesting about 10 minutes after 4:00 pm.

            Then, just before 5:00 pm, a group of teenagers was reportedly seen showing up on motorcycles at Vibhavadi Rangsit Road, which is close to the Sam Liam Din Daeng junction. The Bangkok Post says the teenagers tossed firecrackers, ping-pong bombs, and pipe bombs at the police.

            The Deputy Commissioner says other objects were also thrown at the Royal Thai Army Band Department and the Veterans General Hospital. Following the object throwing, riot police advanced on the protesters to maintain peace and order. The police shot off rubber bullets and blasted water cannons at the protesters in a skirmish that lasted for over 4 hours. Thai media says the protesters continued to throw more handmade explosives, which led to 5 officers being injured.

            Several protesters were arrested following the turbulent gathering. They were brought to the Din Daeng police station for further legal proceedings.


            • #7
              Police arrest 35 protesters after clash at Bangkok’s Din Daeng intersection

              In another clash with riot police at Bangkok’s Din Dang intersection, where numerous protests against the government have taken place, at least 35 protesters were arrested yesterday. A report from the Bangkok Post says a group of young activists on motorcycles called “Mob Thalugaz,” which means “mob that goes through tear gas,” drove to the intersection at around 5pm and threw ping pong bombs and firecrackers at police. The Din Daeng intersection has been a site for the recent protests that have led to violent clashes with riot police. Young activists have been calling on PM Prayut Chan-o-cha to resign due to what they say is mismanagement during the Covid-19 pandemic.

              Last week, a 15 year old protester was shot in the neck outside the Din Daeng police station and went into a coma. Police say only rubber bullets are used to break up crowds. Live ammunition was found on the ground outside the station and police have been investigating to determine who shot the live rounds. Another protester went blind in one eye after he was hit in the face with an object some say was a tear gas canister.

              Yesterday, police lined up around the Royal Thai Army Band Department on Vibhavadi Rangsit Road. Protesters reportedly threw ping pong bombs at police and officers fired tear gas. Water cannons were also deployed to break up the crowd. Police arrested at least 35 protesters and seized their vehicles. By 6:15pm, police were able to push the crowd away from the intersection and toward Victory Monument. With daily protests at the intersection, officers were ordered by the national police chief to change their tactics on crowd control to reduce the impact the clashes have on residents in the area. Rubber bullets and tear gas canisters have ended up on private property. Police are now coordinating with the National Housing Authority to make sure residents in the area are safe, but officers say they still plan to use tear gas and rubber bullets against large crowds.

              From July to August, around 259 people have been arrested on charges relating to the protests. More than 500 people will be prosecuted. Those who were in possession of explosives will be charged for violating Explosives, Fireworks and Imitation Firearms Act. Many face charges for holding a large gathering, violating the Emergency Decree. Bangkok is the epicentre of the latest and most severe wave of Covid-19 with tight measures including a curfew, closure orders and a ban on large gatherings to control the spread of Covid-19.


              • #8
                Daily protests around the country to continue indefinitely until PM resigns

                Anti-government activists have vowed that protests will take place around the country every day and go on indefinitely until the Thai PM resigns. Protest leaders Sombat Boonngamanong and Nattawut Saikuar were speaking following the conclusion of a peaceful “car mob” rally, which ended in the central province of Pathum Thani.

                The rally had begun at the Kasetsart intersection near Kasetsart University. According to a Bangkok Post report, thousands of cars took part in the final convoy, travelling for 5 hours from the capital to Pathum Thani. Prior to the convoy getting underway, Sombat announced the plan for daily protests around the country, adding that they will take place in the evening so people can attend after work.

                The Bangkok Post reports that the activists spoke again outside the provincial hall in Pathum Thani and confirmed protests would take place at Bangkok’s BTS Asok station from 4pm to 8pm every day until Prayut Chan-o-cha resigns. Sombat says the location of provincial rallies will be confirmed by organisers.

                We will rally from September 2 onwards until Prayut resigns.”
                Nattawut has echoed the call for the PM to resign, adding that a replacement would have to be fairly elected. He says he’s hopeful the mounting pressure caused by daily protests will leave the PM with no option but to resign in about 2 weeks’ time.


                • #9
                  17 protest leaders name in complaint with Lumpini police

                  Legal action is being pursued by a legal activist against 17 leaders of pro-democracy protests that took place on September 3 and 4. The complaint was filed with the Lumpini police, today. The protests in question took place at the Ratchaprasong intersection and were set up by the United Front of Thammasat, the Thalu Fa group, and the Re-Dem group. Secretary-general of the Association for the Protection of the Constitution, Srisuwan Janya filed the complaint with the Lumpini police. The complaint alleges the protest leader violated the emergency decree of 2003, the Communication Disease Act of 2015, the Land Transport Act of 1979, the 1953 law on control of use of loudspeakers, the Cleanliness Act of 1992, and Sections 112, 116, 215 and 216 of the Criminal Code.

                  Srisuwan also claims that some of the protest leaders delivered speeches that could be interpreted as insulting to the monarchy, which would be a violation of Section 112 of the Criminal code.
                  The leaders identified in the complaint are:
                  1. Panusya “Roong” Sithijirawattanakul
                  2. Benja Apan
                  3. Thanat “Luk Nut” Thanakit-amnuay
                  4. Atthapol Buapat
                  5. Yingcheep Atchanond
                  6. Thanapat Kapeng
                  7. Wanwalee Thamsattaya
                  8. Sriprai Nonsee
                  9. Chanin “Ball” Wongsri
                  10. Kiatichai Tangpornpan
                  11. Songpol Sonthirak
                  12. Chokdee Rompruek
                  13. Pachara “Fluke the Star” Thammol
                  14. Sureerat Chiwarak
                  15. Wiboon Boonpatararaksa
                  16. Chinawat Chankrachang
                  17. Nawat Liangwattana
                  Previously, the Bangkok police warned protesters that they could face legal repercussions if they broke the emergency decree. At the end of August, the Thalu Fah group presented a letter to the UN to request international support.


                  • #10
                    More protests planned for Bangkok today as activists continue fight to remove PM

                    Anti-government protesters are planning another “car mob” rally in Bangkok today, as they continue their bid to remove the Thai PM from office. The Bangkok Post reports that yesterday, Red Shirt activist Nattawut Saikuar addressed a rally at the Asoke intersection in the capital, vowing to lead a bigger protest from the Ratchaprasong intersection to Asoke today. According to the Bangkok Post report, Nattawut is urging all those taking part to honk their horns as they drive by Asoke around 4pm.

                    Nattawut has vowed to continue protests until the PM, Prayut Chan-o-cha resigns. Both he and fellow activist, Sombat Boonngamanong, say protests will be a daily occurrence from 4:00 pm – 8:00 pm at the intersection, alongside other protests organised by students and other activists. Posting on Facebook, Sombat says the recent vote by MPs to keep the PM and 5 of his ministers in power will not deter those who want him removed. Nattawut agrees.

                    “We do not accept (the vote) and we will not give up.”
                    Meanwhile, in a separate development, the Metropolitan Police Bureau says it’s waiting for the results of an autopsy after a motorbike driver died after hitting a shipping container near the Parliament building on Saturday night. MPB spokesman Piya Tawichai says the man was not involved in anti-government protests. The shipping containers were used by police to prevent protesters reaching Parliament.


                    • #11
                      Protesters at Bangkok’s Asok intersection call on PM Prayut Chan-o-cha to Resign

                      Protesters gathered at Bangkok’s Asok interaction yesterday, calling on PM Prayut Chan-o-cha to resign. For the past year, pro-democracy groups have been pushing for the prime minister to step down, but with the latest wave of Covid-19 surpassing more than 1 million infections, along with a limited supply of vaccines, protesters now say Prayut should resign due to mismanagement during the pandemic. The protesters gathered in a so-called “car mob,” driving their motorbikes to the protest site, honking their horns and raising their hands in the three-finger salute, a symbol of resistance against the Thai government.

                      One protest leader told the Bangkok post that the Asok intersection will become a protest base until the prime minister steps down. He even said that a permanent structure will be erected at the interaction if Prayut does not resign. “We have made our stance clear that this is the peaceful protest. We have also coordinated with local police and our protest site is nowhere near ‘sensitive symbolic grounds’, so this is a safe political space that everyone can join.”


                      • #12
                        Bangkok court denies request for arrest warrants for anti-government protesters

                        A Bangkok court has rejected a request to issue arrests warrants for 2 anti-government protesters. News of the activists’ potential arrest led to a planned rally being cancelled. However, the Bangkok South Municipal Court has decreed that as the charges in question carry a prison term of no more than 3 years, police must first issue a summons for the 2 activists.

                        According to a Bangkok Post report, the court made the ruling yesterday, after police had sought arrest warrants for Red Shirt activists, Nattawut Saikuar and Sombat Boonngamanong, who had organised an anti-government rally at the Asok intersection in the capital. The protesters have pledged to lead rallies every day until PM Prayut Chan-o-cha resigns, and have declared the Asok intersection their stronghold.

                        Yesterday, Nattawut was forced to call off the rally after being advised that police were seeking an arrest warrant for him. The protest leader posted on Facebook to confirm the rally was cancelled while he tried to confirm news of the warrant.

                        Also yesterday, it was reported that more serious charges are being brought against Nattawut, Sombat, and fellow activist Thanat Thanakit-amnuay. The Bangkok Post reports that Seksakol Atthawong from the PM’s Office has filed an official request with police to press charges of incitement, sedition, attempting to overthrow a government, as well as violating the emergency decree and disease control law. The police have confirmed they are now working on issuing a summons for the activists.

                        In related news, Piya Tawichai from the Metropolitan Police Bureau has denied that police drove a vehicle into a 14 year old activist before arresting him during a rally on Tuesday evening. According to Piya, only 1 person was injured during the operation and that was a 45 year old man, named in the Bangkok Post report as Wisit Fuengsila.


                        • #13
                          Bangkok police to ramp up counter-protest measures

                          Police in Bangkok say they’ll get tougher on anti-government protest action, but without resorting to violence, according to a Bangkok Post report. Piya Tawichai from the Metropolitan Police Bureau says there is a need to control activists rallying at the Din Daeng intersection in order to keep law and order.

                          However, he adds that the capital’s residents will not be affected by police action, nor will traffic be disrupted, as the plan is to track activists down after the event, rather than arrest them during the protest. According to Piya, there are already 3 people who face charges after officers were tipped off about them selling weapons to protesters. He says MPB officers will be on duty at the Din Daeng intersection because anti-government activists have announced they will rally there.

                          “Checkpoints will also be set up but officials need to be careful not to inconvenience residents. Some 200 motorcycles have been seized in total.”
                          The Bangkok Post reports that Piya has accused protesters at Wednesday’s rally of hurling explosive items such as fireworks at police and starting fires under tollways. He says those responsible are being tracked down and will face legal action. In the case of anyone underage, their parents will face charges. He adds that people who’ve shared illegal content on social media could face charges under the Computer Crimes Act. According to Piya, snce July, 454 out of a total of 699 wanted people have been arrested.

                          Meanwhile, Red Shirt activist Nattawut Saikuar has called on protesters to rally at the Asok intersection in Bangkok on September 19.2021


                          • #14
                            Two pro-democracy groups gather again at major flashpoints in Bangkok today despite heated crackdown yesterday

                            Representatives from two pro-democracy groups, “Thalu Fah” and the United Front of Thammasat and Demonstration, are scheduled to observe a constant protest at the Sam Liam Din Deang junction in Bangkok from 5:00 PM. today, September 12th, following concerns over a harsh confrontation between a third group, hardline pro-democracy “Thalu Gas” protesters, and the crowd-control police yesterday.

                            Regarding yesterday’s hours-long protest, at least 77 protesters – including 9 teenagers under 18 years old, were arrested during the violent confrontation last night, according to the Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR)

                            Yesterday’s crackdown became a controversial topic since Thai social media had harshly criticized and doubted what they called the police’s power abuse towards the protesters, media, and civilians in many aspects. Despite similar tactics of both protesters and officials used over the past several weeks of protests, police, this time, reportedly forced the media to leave the protest area as of 8:20 P.M. due to the approaching curfew hours. (Bangkok, as well as 28 other provinces, is currently under curfew from 9:00 P.M. to 4:00 A.M. for Covid-19 related reasons, according to the government, claiming it has nothing to do with protests.) They reportedly told reporters that they could be arrested if they violated the curfew, according to the police. The law enforcement officers continued to use force, including firing rubber bullets and tear gas, to disperse the protesters. Netizens online seemed to overwhelmingly consider this as a police overuse of force, which not only limited the public’s right to access the current situation and caused injuries towards the protesters but also crucially troubled innocents and residents living nearby. The dispersal lasted for more than 8 hours and ended at around 2:00 A.M.

                            Meanwhile, another protest, organized by a pro-democracy group called “Mok Luang Rim Nam”, was staged at Ratchaprasong Intersection from 6:30 P.M. onwards. A water cannon truck was reportedly seen deployed at the Royal Thai Police Headquarters. Law enforcement was reportedly advancing to both sites. Both protest organizers urged the public to closely monitor the situation, especially how the riot police would use their force against people as they claimed that the officials might unlawfully use the power to attack protesters and civilians. Thai Law Enforcement, meanwhile, has maintained the protests are illegal due to the emergency decree to control Covid-19 and that all assemblies and rallies are currently against the law, claiming dispersing the protests is not political but health-related. Protesters have disagreed, stating they are being targeted and are not being allowed to express their opinions and voice.


                            • #15
                              Police arrest 78 protesters, bystanders, medics and minors

                              Last night, protesters and crowd control police met at Din Daeng in a heated confrontation that resulted in 78 people being arrested including bystanders, volunteer medics, and even underage people. Those who were taken into custody were held in several different police facilities, and the Thai Lawyers for Human Rights observed and reported on the arrests.

                              They said 20 people taken into custody were not protesting but were food vendors and taxi drivers on-site, and that another 9 of the 78 people arrested were minors. The nearly daily protests at Din Daeng demanding the resignation of PM Prayut Chan-o-cha resulted in at least 225 arrests in August with 62 of them being between 15 and 18 years old, and 15 under the age of 15.

                              Crowd control officers also took 25 volunteer medics into custody last night and transferred them from the Royal Thai Army Band Department headquarters to Din Daeng Police Station before finally releasing them this afternoon without any charges. Police denied those held access to a lawyer saying they weren’t being charged with anything so they didn’t need one. The medics were told to register with Metropolitan Police and observe curfew in the future.

                              The police also denied lawyers access to the police station which was set up like a war zone with armed guards in bulletproof vests, surrounded with razor wire, and the lights inside turned off. During the evening’s protest, police fired tear gas and rubber bullets at the protesters who in turn threw small explosives and firecrackers back. The tear gas was ramped up 15 minutes before the 9 pm curfew trying to disperse protesters and it was reported that tear gas was also fired into nearby homes causing angry residents to come out of their homes where they were threatened with arrest for breaking curfew.

                              iLaw and Voice TV reported that police surrounded an apartment building and searched for protesters inside while pelting the building with marbles rubber bullets and tear gas to flush out the protesters. The building suffered significant damage and residents inside had to leave their homes and seek sanctuary elsewhere.

                              Many journalists reported being pushed to leave the areas, having their credentials checked while having their live broadcasts cut. Many reported being threatened with arrest for violating the emergency decree while covering the protest.