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64 protesters arrested as Government House protest camp cleared

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64 protesters were taken into custody as police cleared the sites of a Government House demonstration camp early this morning. The site, located at Phra Ram 5 by the Khlong Phadung Krungkasem canal near the Government House, was raided at 6am by 4 battalions of the police’s Protection and Crowd Control Division.

The protesters, many still asleep at the time, were surprised by the dawn raid by about 300 anti-riot police officers,

(Some media report 70 people being arrested)

Metropolitan Police Bureau forces shouted through loudspeakers for protesters to clear the site and remove their belongings from the area. They gave the attending protesters just 3 minutes to pack their things and vacate the premise.

Protestors peacefully asked for more time to pack up their encampment – in some cases they’d been occupying the area for nearly a month. But the police denied the request and pushed in, arresting 64 protestors as they proceeded. The protesters are being charged with violating the Communicable Disease Control Act and the emergency decree. They are currently at the Border Patrol Police Region 1 headquarters. 

Once the Government House site was cleared, forensic police and explosive ordinance disposal were called in to sweep the area before the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration cleans up the remnants of the camp and structures the protesters built. The site was an endpoint for marches by protesters for months before becoming a more permanent demonstration ‘camp’.

The protest camp had been occupied by 2 groups supporting totally different causes. The first to arrive earlier this month was the Save Bang Kloi Coalition, a group from Phetchaburi made up of ethnic Karen people advocating for justice for ethnic Burmese people. They were later joined on March 13 by the Ratsadon group who demand their leaders in custody be freed. They marched from Nakhon Ratchasima calling for the resignation of PM Prayut Chan-o-cha and his government, and overall reform of the Thai monarchy and a new constitution.

Full coverage of protests on The Thaiger can be found here.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

 

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Neill is a journalist from the United States with 10+ years broadcasting experience and national news and magazine publications. He graduated with a degree in journalism and communications from the University of California and has been living in Thailand since 2014.

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