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Protests

A round-up of events in Bangkok yesterday as protests turn ugly

Maya Taylor

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A round-up of events in Bangkok yesterday as protests turn ugly | The Thaiger
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As various protest groups, both pro and anti-establishment, gathered near the Parliament building in Bangkok yesterday, tensions were high, and things eventually turned ugly. By mid-afternoon, as pro-democracy activists tried to reach the Parliament building where a debate on draft charter amendments was taking place, police resorted to a combination of tear gas and water cannons laced with chemicals to drive them back.

From early morning, roads were closed in the area, with motorists prevented from entering Samsen Road and Thahan Road bordering the new parliament building. At around 1pm, the Army had assembled 20 boats at the river pier behind the Parliament building, ready to evacuate MPs and senators if necessary on the Chao Phraya. Meanwhile, protesters continued to gather in the surrounding streets.

A round-up of events in Bangkok yesterday as protests turn ugly | News by The Thaiger

A number of groups issued instructions to their members, with the United Front of Thammasat and Demonstration calling on its followers to assemble at the Kiakkai intersection, next to the Parliament building, at 3pm. The Free Youth Group told its members to bring large inflatable ducks to ride in front of Parliament. Meanwhile, activists reiterated their demand for Parliament to pass a draft charter amendment submitted by the human rights non-profit organisation, iLaw. Theirs is the only draft amendment not proposed by government or opposition MPs.

By 2.30pm, protesters were attempting to dismantle a police barrier erected by the Boon Rawd Brewery building, which was designed to safeguard the Parliament building. The barrier was made from huge concrete blocks and razor wire. Police responded by issuing a warning, then proceeded to deploy water cannons. The action was repeated at the Kiakkai intersection, with officers warning protesters to stay away from the barriers. As activists continued with their attempts to remove the barriers, police again fired water cannons.

A round-up of events in Bangkok yesterday as protests turn ugly | News by The Thaiger

Responding to claims that the water was laced with chemical irritants, police spokesman Kritsana Pattanacharoen said the water was free from chemicals the first time, but tear gas was added after protesters continued to ignore orders to stop dismantling the barriers. Activists used umbrellas, large, inflatable rubber ducks and rain jackets in an attempt to protect themselves. The cheap pastel-coloured raincoats (20 baht at any convenience store), eye goggles and hard hats were passed around to protesters as things took a turn for the worse.

By 3.30pm, the police’s efforts to hold back protesters with water cannons and tear gas were continuing, with one protester responding by throwing a smoke bomb in their direction. Meanwhile, inside the Parliament building, opposition MP Wiroj Lakkhanaadisorn from the Move Forward party, called on officials to hold back from using violence against activists, pointing out that they were exercising their right to protest.

By 4pm, some senators and other politicians had been evacuated by boat, as police continued to spray water cannons at protesters attempting to reach the Parliament building. The capital’s Chao Phraya Express boat service advised passengers to avoid the area. Meanwhile, Shinawatra Chankrachang from the New Generation Network of Nonthaburi protest group, led a number of boats to Kiakkai pier, as police continued to block people from entering the Parliament building.

A round-up of events in Bangkok yesterday as protests turn ugly | News by The Thaiger

Shortly after 5pm, protesters managed to break the barrier at the Kiakkai intersection, firing objects at police. They then clashed with pro-government/royalist yellow-shirt activists, with both sides hurling bottles and rocks. As the situation escalated, opposition MPs, still inside the Parliament building, called for the violence to stop.

A round-up of events in Bangkok yesterday as protests turn ugly | News by The Thaiger

Around 5.30pm, Piya Tawichai from the Metropolitan Police Bureau gave a statement, saying police used tear gas and water cannons to protect the Parliament building from potential damage, accusing protesters of having thrown a flare and firecracker at officers. Officials say only 3 of 4 groups present had been given permission to rally, adding that the Ratsadon (People’s Party) group had not applied for authorisation, as the current emergency decree dictates.

A round-up of events in Bangkok yesterday as protests turn ugly | News by The Thaiger

By 9pm, things were winding up, with protesters heading home. However, protest leader and human rights lawyer Anon Nampa has called for “1 million” protesters to gather at the Ratchaprasong intersection at 4pm today. The Ratchaprasong intersection is the intersection of Ratchadamri Road and adjacent to Central World and the Erawan Shrine.

The debate on 7 draft charter amendments continues in the Parliament building today, with the session expected to run until around 10pm. Political commentators doubt that any of the controversial amendments will be cleared for further discussion.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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5 Comments

5 Comments

  1. Avatar

    jesus monroe

    November 18, 2020 at 11:44 am

    Hong Kong here we come. Put everyone in fear of their lives……..So whats the endgame. How long can you suppress the people. To know the answer to that you need to ask the north Korean people……..tricky

  2. Avatar

    ynwaps

    November 18, 2020 at 12:38 pm

    A thick layer of Vaseline should help with the water laced chemicals (riot control agents)

    Removing your clothing:
    Quickly take off clothing that may have riot control agent on it. Any clothing that has to be pulled over the head should be cut off the body instead of pulled over the head.
    If you are helping other people remove their clothing, try to avoid touching any contaminated areas, and remove the clothing as quickly as possible.

    Washing yourself:
    As quickly as possible, wash any riot control agent from your skin with large amounts of soap and water. Washing with soap and water will help protect people from any chemicals on their bodies.
    If your eyes are burning or your vision is blurred, rinse your eyes with plain water for 10 to 15 minutes. If you wear contacts, remove them and put them with the contaminated clothing. Do not put the contacts back in your eyes (even if they are not disposable contacts). If you wear eyeglasses, wash them with soap and water. You can put your eyeglasses back on after you wash them. If you are wearing jewelry that you can wash with soap and water, you can wash it and put it back on. If it cannot be washed, it should be put with the contaminated clothing.

    • Avatar

      Issan John

      November 18, 2020 at 10:13 pm

      Way beyond stupid, uninformed advice, on every level.

      • Avatar

        ynwaps

        November 19, 2020 at 12:11 am

        You teach them Issan John, I’ve never been on a demonstration.

        • Avatar

          Issan John

          November 19, 2020 at 8:19 pm

          That much is pretty obvious.

          I’ve been to rather a lot, in quite a few countries, for various reasons.

          FWIW, applying vaseline would be a recipe for extended and extreme pain. “Tear gas” is actually a powder suspended in a gas, which reacts when wet (eyes, mucus membrane, sweat, etc) so it would stick to very nicely to vaseline; ditto to washing your eyes out with water – it makes it worse.

          There are very few options available, and anyone who knows anything about it will tell you that the only viable agent isn’t “soap and water” but ******’s *****. Available in any pet supply shop or any Lotus or Big ‘C’ here on the pet supply shelf.

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Protests

Protest planned for courthouse tomorrow as verdict on PM’s residence expected

Maya Taylor

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Protest planned for courthouse tomorrow as verdict on PM’s residence expected | The Thaiger
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The Ratsadon (People’s Party) movement is planning a protest outside the Constitutional Court tomorrow as a verdict is handed down in relation to PM Prayut Chan-o-cha’s occupancy of a military residence, despite his retirement from the army. The ruling is expected at 3.00pm tomorrow and comes as a result of a petition lodged by opposition MPs in March, in which the PM was accused of a conflict of interest as a result of his residence.

Members of the Pheu Thai Party are leading the charge, claiming the PM should have moved out of the accommodation at the time of his retirement in 2014. For his part, the PM says he’ll move out if the court rules against him, insisting his occupancy of the military residence is not an abuse of power. According to a report in the Bangkok Post today, the military says the property has been re-classified as a “visitor’s house” and says it was provided to the PM for security reasons.

Wirat Ratana­sate from the ruling Palang Pracharath Party says members have not yet discussed a list of potential replacement candidates, should the court’s ruling go against the PM. Were that to happen, it would mean the end of his term as leader and the end of his current cabinet. Wirat remains optimistic however, that the court will find in the PM’s favour.

“We may have to discuss the matter with coalition parties. Still, let’s wait for the court’s ruling. Don’t jump to any conclusion that there will be a political accident. The outcome may turn out to be good.”

Meanwhile, authorities in Bangkok say they’re ready to handle tomorrow’s planned protest outside the courthouse. Pakkapong Pongpetra from the Metropolitan Police Bureau says officers have devised a number of security measures to maintain order during the rally and ensure events inside the courtroom can proceed as normal.

His statement comes as Ramate Rattanachaweng from the Democrat Party issues a warning to anti-government protesters that pressurising the court could lead to charges of contempt of court. He is calling on them to cancel tomorrow’s gathering.

Meanwhile, members of the opposition say they’re confident the court will rule against the PM, with the legal chief of the Pheu Thai Party, Chusak Sirinil, saying the designation of “visitor’s house” does not indicate a permanent residence.

“A visitor’s house is for temporary stays of 7 to 10 days, not forever.”

Prasert Chantararuangthong, also from Pheu Thai, dismisses the army’s explanation that the PM needs to live in a military residence for security reasons, pointing out that the army is not responsible for prime ministerial security. Meanwhile, fellow Pheu Thai MP, Arunee Kasayanont, suggests the PM should pay attention to what the people are demanding and resign immediately, regardless of the verdict.

“General Prayut can make a graceful exit by resigning before December 2 and thus respond to the demand of demonstrators.”

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Protests

Pro-democracy protest leaders hear lèse majesté charges

Caitlin Ashworth

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Pro-democracy protest leaders hear lèse majesté charges | The Thaiger
PHOTO: INN News

Pro-democracy protest leaders reported to police today to hear lèse majesté charges which carry a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison for insulting or defaming the Thai Monarchy.

The ongoing protests have opened discussion questioning the Thai Monarchy, a move considered taboo in Thai society and also risky as “insulting” or “defaming” statements could violate the lèse majesté law under Section 112 of Thailand’s Criminal Code.

Whoever, defames, insults or threatens the King, the Queen, the Heir-apparent or the Regent, shall be punished with imprisonment of three to fifteen years.

The 5 leaders are facing charges over the September 19 to 20 rally where the protesters placed a plaque in an area near the Grand Palace, declaring Thailand “belongs to the people.” The plaque has since been removed.

A lèse majesté complaint was filed by a leader of the pro-government “multi-coloured shirts movement” Tul Sittisomwong who said the protesters had “once again crossed the line,” according to an earlier report from the Bangkok Post.

“I don’t mind if they talked about politics, the prime minister or the constitution because they have the right to do so, but not about the monarchy.”

The protest leaders responding to police summonses include Arnon Nampha, Parit “Penguin” Chiwarak, Panusya “Rung” Sithijirawattanakul, Panupong “Mike” Chadnok and Patiwat Saraiyaem, who is known as “Molam Bank.”

Arnon, who is a human rights lawyer, says he’s not worried about the charge and believes it will be cleared. The activists were accompanied by 2 counsel from Thai Lawyers for Human Rights.

“It is now time for us to speak straightforwardly about the royal institution. Even if what we say goes unheard and laws are used to shut our mouths, we will continue to fight.”

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Protests

Twitter suspends Thai royalist linked account which spread pro-government propaganda

Caitlin Ashworth

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Twitter suspends Thai royalist linked account which spread pro-government propaganda | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Twitter: Screenshot

A Thai royalist-linked account was suspended on Twitter following a review by Reuters reporters that found the account spread posts in favour of His Majesty the King and the monarchy in what appeared to be a tactic to sway the public opinion.

While ongoing protests are calling on monarchy reform with statements considered unprecedented and taboo in Thai society, Reuters says they found tens of thousands of tweets from accounts amplifying the pro-government agenda, which an expert claims is a move to counter the pro-democracy movement.

While not directly linked, internal army training documents leaked to reporters show the Royal Thai Army used Twitter to spread pro-government propaganda and discredit the now-disbanded Future Forward Party. Hundreds of the Twitter accounts linked to the Army were suspended in October.

The account @jitarsa_school, created in September with 48,000 followers, was suspended after Reuters reporters reached out to Twitter for comment about the pro-monarchy accounts. A representative from Twitter told Reuters that the account violated the rules and that the suspension was not due to the reporters’ review.

“The account in question was suspended for violating our rules on spam and platform manipulation.”

Twitter suspends Thai royalist linked account which spread pro-government propaganda | News by The Thaiger

Reuters found that of the 48,000 accounts following @jitarsa_school, 80% of them were created since the start of September. Reuters says thousands of the “bot-like” accounts only promoted royalist hashtags. Some hashtags shared by @jitarsa_school translate to #StopViolatingTheMonarchy, #ProtectTheMonarchy, #WeLoveTheMotherOfTheLand, #WeLoveTheMonarchy and #MinionsLoveTheMonarchy.

While the account does not appear to be associated with the Royal Thai Army, the activity is similar. In October, Twitter suspended 926 accounts linked to the Royal Thai Army which were “amplifying pro-government propaganda.” At the time, the army said they were not associated with the accounts.

Recently, a 28-page document showing the army’s plan to target opponents and spread pro-monarchy messages was leaked. The army claims the plan was used as a public relations training exercise.

While Twitter only suspended 926 accounts, the documents says that 17,562 Twitter accounts were run by 9,743 army officers. The army officers were split into a “White Team” and a “Grey/Black Team.” According to the document, the accounts were aimed to appear like authentic accounts and officers were instructed to tweet with coordinated hashtags and retweet each other’s posts.

SOURCE: Reuters

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