Water cannon used on demonstrators

17-Oct-2020 Intellasia | BangkokPost | 6:02 AM Print This Post

Police used a water cannon against protesters at the Pathumwan intersection in central Bangkok on Friday evening in an attempt to end a third straight day of anti-government demonstrations.

As hundreds of riot police began advancing toward a large crowd taking shelter from the rain under the skywalk, some demonstrators tried to push back. Many held locked umbrellas in front of them, a tactic learned from their counterpart in Hong Kong. Others threw water bottles at the officers.

Police ordered the crowd to disperse immediately. Media members were reportedly told not to live-stream images of the police action.

Some protesters chased away police officers and chanted “get out… stop harassing people”.

The confrontation came just two hours after the crowd began forming at Pathumwan. The venue was a last-minute change after authorities completely sealed off the Ratchaprasong intersection, the scene of a rally that police estimate drew 13,500 people on Thursday night. The crowd dispersed peacefully around 10pm.

As images of police spooling razor wire across the road began to circulate on social media on Friday afternoon, protest leader Panupong Jadnok posted a Facebook message inviting supporters to gather a few hundred metres away.

The demonstration started at 5pm. Protesters in the streets at the intersection called out to people on the skywalk to join them on the ground.

“Come down. Come down,” they urged.

The protesters shrugged off the state of emergency as they sought to put pressure on prime minister Prayut Chan-o-cha to step down and for authorities to release detained activists.

As many as 51 people, well-known protest leaders as well as participants, have been arrested over the past four days, according to Thai Lawyers for Human Rights. Some of the key figures in the movement are being held without bail.

Police warned earlier that demonstrators will be arrested if they take part in the rally as the emergency decree bans gatherings of five people or more.

The nearby Siam Paragon, Siam centre and Siam Discovery shopping complexes announced they were closing because of the rally. The National Stadium station was also closed.

The event also caused the operators of the BTS and MRT to curtail some services and close some stations.



Category: Thailand

Print This Post