Thai police use water cannons against protesters

Riot police tried to disperse the crowd, Thai protesters covered themselves. Photo: The Nation Thailand/Asian News Network
Thousands of Thais gathered in Bangkok the next day to demand political reforms, ignoring the emergency decree prohibiting such gatherings.

The police dispersed most of the young activists with water guns, and they tried to push them away with umbrellas. Several people threw plastic water bottles.

Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha warned of a possible curfew and rejected calls for him to resign.

The protesters also demanded reforms to Thailand’s powerful monarchy.

On Thursday, the government tried to curb student-led protests by issuing emergency decree prohibiting gatherings of more than four people and arresting about 20 activists.

Several major protester leaders have arrested, including human rights lawyer Anon Nampa, student activist Parit Chiwarak (known by his nickname “Penguin”) and Panusaya Sithijirawattanakul.

The beginning of the large-scale protests was asking Pratt to resign. Pratt was the commander-in-chief of the army. He came to power after a coup in 2014 and was appointed prime minister in a controversial election last year.

The rally has now expanded, demanding to contain the power of the king.

In Thailand, calls for royal reforms are particularly sensitive. In Thailand, criticism of the monarchy will be punished by long prison sentences.

What’s the latest news from Bangkok?

Media reports said that about 2,000 protesters took to the streets on Friday night.

As hundreds of riot police blocked off the site of the previous day’s protest, the young militants simply moved the assembly a few hundred meters.

Their slogan is “Release our friends”, referring to more than 40 people arrested this week.

Jonathan Head of the BBC in Bangkok reported that as commuters stopped and joined the crowd that has now become a national rebellion, the crowd quickly expanded from dozens to thousands. I heard a series of offensive remarks against the prime minister.

Riot police use water canon against protesters in Bangkok, Thailand. Photo: 16 October 2020

Clashes continued late into the night in Bangkok. Photo: Reuters

A man pushes against riot police officers in Bangkok, Thailand. Photo: 16 October 2020

They were fighting for their future, protesters said. Photo: Reuters

When the police began to advance to disperse the crowd, the demonstrators chanted “Get out, get out!”

Later, water cannons were used. Some protesters said that the water jet contained a chemical substance that made their eyes feel irritation. This claim has not been independently verified.

Reuters quoted a 22-year-old protester as saying:

“I have to fight for my future.”

Later, most of the protesters dispersed. Some people tried to resist and were arrested.

Protest organizers then asked the crowd to go home and prepare for another mass rally on Saturday.

Police spokesman Yingyot Thepchamnong warned that the authorities had  “issued warnings against illegal acts”.

He added: “After this there will be intensive measures in enforcing the law.”

How did the protest movement begin?

Thailand has a long history of political turmoil and protests. However, after a popular opposition party has disbanded, a new wave began in February.

The order follows the general election in March last year. This is the first election since the military has seized power in 2014 and the first opportunity to vote for many young people and first-time voters. After years of military rule, elections are seen as an opportunity for change.

Prayuth Chan-ocha has reappointed as prime minister with the most important support of the army. The pro-democratic Future Progress Party (FFP) and its charismatic leader Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit won the third largest seat, especially popular among young first-time voters .

But in February, the court ruled that FFP had obtained a loan from Mr. Thanathorn, which has considered a donation-making it illegal. The party has forced to disband, prompting thousands of young Thais to participate in street protests.

The protest has suspended due to Covid-19 restrictions that banned attendance at gatherings, but the protest started again in June when the famous pro-democracy activist disappeared.


The pro-democracy activist Wanchalearm Satsaksit has reportedly snatched off on the streets of Cambodia. Photo: GETTY IMAGES

According to reports, Wanchalearm Satsaksit, who has been in exile in Cambodia since 2014. He hijacked on the street and tied up into a car. The protesters accused Thailand of planning his kidnapping-the allegation was denied by police and government officials.

In recent months, protesters have questioned the king’s decision to declare royal wealth as his personal property, making him by far the richest person in Thailand. So far, it has been conceptually beneficial to the people.

The king’s decision to personally command all military units in Bangkok also raised questions-the concentration of military power in the hands of the royal family is unprecedented in modern Thailand.

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