6 protesters shot with live rounds in Bangkok, but police deny the claims

PHOTO: Free Youth Facebook Page

6 protesters were reportedly shot in yesterday’s chaos as police tried to repel advancing anti-government protesters as they attempted to march to the front of the Thai Parliament. They were shot with live rounds according to medical staff who attended to their injuries. Inside the parliament lawmakers debated proposals for possible constitutional reform. At this stage it is not clear who opened fire.

Police also used tear gas and tear gas-laced water from a high powered water cannon truck on demonstrators. Protesters pushed through barricades of concrete blocks and razor wire, laid earlier in the day by police, to make their way to the front of parliament. The police maintain they were within their rights to defend the parliament building and its occupants.

According to the Erawan Emergency Medical Centre, ambulance officers and medical coordination officials, more than 50 people were injured in the melee, mostly caused by tear gas fumes. They also reported that 6 people were shot.

Earlier in the day 100 royalist supporters protested the very discussion of amendments in the parliament, but it was the afternoon arrival of the anti-government protests that attracted thousands more to the area. The rally, on 2 fronts, then tried to move towards the entrance of the Thai parliament on Samsen Road but police had set up 3-layered concrete barricades, covered in razor wire. Riot police, armed with riot shields and batons, awaited anyone who tried to get through.

At the time there was no mention of live rounds being used but some photos show various weapons being carried by police.

Police maintained that the anti-government protesters, called ‘Ratsadon’ (People’s Party), didn’t apply for permission to conduct their protest, or make the proper applications, so acted illegally.

Police sprayed water cannon at protesters at least 8 times. The protesters cut through the razor wire and started pushing aside the concrete barriers outside parliament. Officers then fired tear gas. On at least 2 occasions, caught on camera, protesters ran to grab the tear gas canisters before they started releasing their toxic fumes, and hurled them back at police. The result was police and attendant media being forced to scatter.

Protesters also threw blue paint bombs at police. Later in the afternoon Royalist and pro-government supporters were seen throwing bricks and other objects at protesters, somehow being allowed to act on the police side of the cordon facing off with the frontline of anti-government protesters.

6 protesters shot with live rounds in Bangkok, but police deny the claims | News by Thaiger

A Bangkok police spokesman has denied police used rubber bullets or live rounds. 4 people remain in hospital.

The Thai Human Rights Lawyers Association has slammed the police tactics, telling Bangkok Post “it was not in accordance with international procedure to disperse demonstrations”.

Parliament will vote later today on which amendments can be debated further. The controversial proposals to include reforms to the Thai monarchy are unlikely to be accepted for further discussions.

The next protest has been scheduled for Ratchaprasong intersection in the middle of Bangkok’s main shopping district at 4pm today. But protesters have been very adept at changing their venues and movements at a moment’s notice, and staying one step ahead of the police, using encrypted messaging.

6 protesters shot with live rounds in Bangkok, but police deny the claims | News by Thaiger

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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