Anti-government protesters regroup in downtown Bangkok after police dispersal operation

BANGKOK: Anti-government protesters regrouped in Bangkok’s business district of Ratchaprasong on Thursday afternoon (Oct 15), after their previous demonstration outside the Government House was dispersed by police in the early hours of the day.

Water trucks for riot control and many police vans could be seen. Protesters called for the release of their friends who were arrested by the authorities earlier in the day.

Pro-democracy protesters gather demanding the government to resign and to release detained leaders in Bangkok, Thailand October 15, 2020. — Reuters pic
Pro-democracy protesters gather demanding the government to resign and to release detained leaders in Bangkok, Thailand October 15, 2020. — Reuters pic

By evening time, the crowd grew to several thousand people.

This was despite the state of emergency declared by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha at 4am local time, which bans any gathering of five people or more as well as any action that would incite unrest.

Publication of news and electronic information with messages that could install fear among the public, intentionally distort facts, or cause misunderstanding that would affect the national security, or peace and order is also prohibited.

Protesters during a rally at Ratchaprasong intersection on Oct 15, 2020. (Photo: Pichayada Promchertchoo)

“The People’s Party condemned the government’s action. We also want to maintain our stance by continuing the protest on Oct 15, 2020, at 4pm, at the Ratchaprasong intersection,” said one of the protest leaders, Jutatip Sirikhan after the police dispersal.

“To those who love democracy, come out to create change with us and overthrow dictatorship and evil feudalism.”

Anti-government protesters held a major demonstration at the Democracy Monument on Wednesday to call for an end to Prayut’s administration, charter amendment and reform of the monarchy.

Protesters cheered and raised a three-finger salute as police reversed their trucks away from the demonstrators at the Ratchaprasong intersection on Oct 15, 2020. (Photo: Pichayada Promchertchoo)

The demonstration was driven by a coalition of youth groups from across the country, known collectively as the People’s Party. The name is a symbolic reference to a group of revolutionaries behind Thailand’s transition from absolute monarchy to constitutional monarchy in 1932.

Protesters later moved to camp out outside the Government House in the evening before being dispersed by police the following morning.

Ratchaprasong is a central shopping and business district of Bangkok.

According to police spokesman Krissana Pattanacharoen, the gathering at Ratchaprason is considered a wrongdoing as it violates the emergency decree.

“Whoever joins the demonstration will be considered a wrongdoer,” he said in a press conference on Thursday morning.

The Metropolitan Police Bureau has deployed officers to ensure law and order in the area.

More than 20 protesters were arrested during the morning operation. They include key leaders such as Arnon Nampa, Parit Chiwarak, and Prasit Karutarote. Police later arrested another protest leader, Panusaya Sithijirawattanakul, at a hotel on Khaosan Road.

By : Pichayada Promchertchoo – CNA

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