APEC 2022: Protesters clash with riot police in Bangkok, Thailand

Riot police clashed with protesters at Asoke Intersection in Bangkok this afternoon as world leaders gather in the Thai capital for the APEC Summit 2022.

Due to road closures, the intersection is the closest the public can get to the summit which is being held at the Queen Sirikit National Convention Centre from November 16-19.

Police ramped up security in the city in preparation for the meeting and riot police were deployed in anticipation of protests.

The demonstration held in Asoke outside the entrance of Sukhumvit MRT Station today was entitled, “What’s Happening In Thailand?

Demonstrators made various demands, holding placards that read…

“Expel Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha”

“Stop APEC 2022”

“Release all political prisoners in Thailand”

“Abolish lese majeste laws”

“Free Hong Kong”

“Hang Xi Jinping”

The protest was largely peaceful until the police confiscated signs and other equipment from demonstrators, which is when some scuffles broke out between protesters and riot police.

A demonstrator told The Thaiger that, “earlier in the day, some protesters were arrested.”

Why are different protest groups coming together and raising all these issues at once?

Demonstrators see the APEC Summit 2022 as the perfect time to raise Thailand’s issues on the global stage.

Some demostrators expressed feeling safer coming out to protest during the summit, hoping that police wouldn’t dare use water cannons and violence against protestors – as they did during the pro-democracy protests of 2020 – with world leaders like French President Emmanuel Macron, Chinese President Xi Jinping and Vice President of the US Kamala Harris just a stone’s throw away.

One demonstrator told The Thaiger she was protesting against foreign land ownership in Thailand…

“The government said they will allow foreigners to buy land in Thailand for 40 million baht… If land costs 40 million baht, how will Thai people buy it? How will farmers afford it?”

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Leah is a translator and news writer for the Thaiger. Leah studied East Asian Religions and Thai Studies at the University of Leeds and Chiang Mai University. Leah covers crime, politics, environment, human rights, entertainment, travel and culture in Thailand and southeast Asia.