In another clash with riot police at Bangkok’s Din Dang intersection, where numerous protests against the government have taken place, at least 35 protesters were arrested yesterday. A report from the Bangkok Post says a group of young activists on motorcycles called “Mob Thalugaz,” which means “mob that goes through tear gas,” drove to the intersection at around 5pm and threw ping pong bombs and firecrackers at police.
The Din Daeng intersection has been a site for the recent protests that have led to violent clashes with riot police. Young activists have been calling on PM Prayut Chan-o-cha to resign due to what they say is mismanagement during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Last week, a 15 year old protester was shot in the neck outside the Din Daeng police station and went into a coma. Police say only rubber bullets are used to break up crowds. Live ammunition was found on the ground outside the station and police have been investigating to determine who shot the live rounds. Another protester went blind in one eye after he was hit in the face with an object some say was a tear gas canister.
Yesterday, police lined up around the Royal Thai Army Band Department on Vibhavadi Rangsit Road. Protesters reportedly threw ping pong bombs at police and officers fired tear gas. Water cannons were also deployed to break up the crowd. Police arrested at least 35 protesters and seized their vehicles. By 6:15pm, police were able to push the crowd away from the intersection and toward Victory Monument.
With daily protests at the intersection, officers were ordered by the national police chief to change their tactics on crowd control to reduce the impact the clashes have on residents in the area. Rubber bullets and tear gas canisters have ended up on private property. Police are now coordinating with the National Housing Authority to make sure residents in the area are safe, but officers say they still plan to use tear gas and rubber bullets against large crowds.
From July to August, around 259 people have been arrested on charges relating to the protests. More than 500 people will be prosecuted. Those who were in possession of explosives will be charged for violating Explosives, Fireworks and Imitation Firearms Act. Many face charges for holding a large gathering, violating the Emergency Decree. Bangkok is the epicentre of the latest and most severe wave of Covid-19 with tight measures including a curfew, closure orders and a ban on large gatherings to control the spread of Covid-19.
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