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Police deploy water cannons and tear gas, Royalists throw bricks – the protests outside parliament

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PHOTOS: Free Youth Thai Movement Facebook Page

UPDATE: 6 people were shot with live rounds in yesterday’s scuffles. Read more HERE.

The current spate of protests in Thailand took an ugly step forward yesterday when police resorted to using a high power water cannon truck with the water laced with a chemical irritant. They also fired tear gas and, according to protesters, used rubber bullets. Photos show the police were carrying weapons to fire tear gas canisters and rubber bullets. Police maintain their use of force was necessary to protect the parliament building and the lawmakers inside.

Fortified blockades had been assembled on routes leading to the front of the Thai parliament, where a 2 day session to discuss 7 amendments to the 2017 Charter was in play.

At least 18 people, including a child and a policeman, ended up in hospital, most of them through the effects of the tear gas. An earlier protest from around 100 royalist supporters started the day, but it was the afternoon arrival of the anti-establishment protests that attracted a lot more people. The rally 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. They also had riot squads, armed with riot shields and batons, awaiting anyone who tried to get through.

Police maintained that the anti-government protesters, called ‘Ratsadon’ (People’s Party), didn’t advise them of their protest, or make the proper applications, so were marching 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.

Police deploy water cannons and tear gas, Royalists throw bricks - the protests outside parliament | News by Thaiger Police deploy water cannons and tear gas, Royalists throw bricks - the protests outside parliament | News by Thaiger Police deploy water cannons and tear gas, Royalists throw bricks - the protests outside parliament | News by Thaiger

On at least one occasion protesters tried to deflate the tyres of the water cannon truck. They managed to shawl slogans all over the blue truck.

The media, in their hundreds, along with other onlookers, watched as thousands of protesters tried to get to the front of the parliament building from many directions. The numbers grew as the sun set. Amazingly, police allowed the media and others to get into quite close proximity of the action, at times volatile and dangerous for everyone in the immediate region.

Bangkok’s Erawan Medical Centre reported a total of 18 people were injured in the protests, 12 suffering the effects of tear gas.

Speaking to Reuters, Piya Tavichai,, the head of Bangkok police said that police were forced to use teargas and water cannon “because protesters were trying to break through the barriers”.

Royalist supporters, clad in yellow shirts, joined the fray and started pelting protesters with objects thrown at close range. They were calling on the parliament not to make changes to the constitution, preferring the status quo.

Watch the Royalist supporters hurling bricks and rocks at the protesters HERE.

Police deploy water cannons and tear gas, Royalists throw bricks - the protests outside parliament | News by Thaiger

Royalist supporters are saying that “amending the constitution is going to lead to the abolition of the monarchy”. The abolishment of the Thai monarchy has never been brought up by the anti-establishment protesters who have consistently said they do not want to abolish the monarchy, rather they want the role of the monarch, and limits on their powers, enshrined in a new constitution.

Inside parliament, MPs and senators were discussing 7 proposals for constitutional changes. Two of the amendments would prevent any changes to the charter which would modify the role of the Thai monarchy. Reform of the Monarchy is one of the main issues raised by the protesters.

Another amendment relates to the way senators would be selected or elected in the future. The current senate is entirely hand picked by the former Junta, the NCPO, who ran Thailand from May 2014 up to March 2019 when Thailand ran a general election.

Once they reached the entry to the Parliament, one of the protest leaders, Anon Nampa said that if Parliament rejects iLaw’s draft amendment to the constitution protesters will gather at the Ratchaprasong intersection at 4pm in central Bangkok.

Police deploy water cannons and tear gas, Royalists throw bricks - the protests outside parliament | News by Thaiger Police deploy water cannons and tear gas, Royalists throw bricks - the protests outside parliament | News by Thaiger

 

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14 Comments

14 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Mike

    Wednesday, November 18, 2020 at 8:17 am

    Underneath the ‘ wai’ and smile in the country it is split assunder !

  2. Avatar

    Khun plastic

    Wednesday, November 18, 2020 at 8:46 am

    Here we go again.

  3. Avatar

    gosport

    Wednesday, November 18, 2020 at 9:07 am

    The yellow man face shows his mental state very clearly. The riots must by suppressed by force to give the nation a state of tranquility.

  4. Avatar

    Issan John

    Wednesday, November 18, 2020 at 9:30 am

    Thailand has been “split asunder” for decades, as I would have thought had been unavoidably obvious to anyone here anytime over the last 30 years or more.

  5. Avatar

    Issan John

    Wednesday, November 18, 2020 at 9:37 am

    Rather stupid to make the protests violent when what they want and are protesting about outside is actually being debated inside, but it’s impossible to say if that was down to the protesters themselves, rogue elements, or deliberate PDC/2014-style manoeuvering.

    • Avatar

      jesus monroe

      Wednesday, November 18, 2020 at 8:39 pm

      Aren’t they debating inside about whether to have a debate…….delay delay delay till the protesters are shown what real violence looks like. Unfortunately the protestors will get violent because the government will never really listen to them If they did they would be joining the unemployment queue like the protesters. Maybe the king too. Hang on he’s got 40 billion…….that should keep him going for a few weeks.

  6. Avatar

    Toby Andrews

    Wednesday, November 18, 2020 at 9:38 am

    Royalists? They look like the police to me.

    • Avatar

      Galaxy

      Wednesday, November 18, 2020 at 9:56 am

      Royalist or police? Whatever these idiots want to protect their king, they have not to complain after that if there are less and less tourists. Their brain has been completely washed, not a small peanut remains.

  7. Avatar

    Issan John

    Wednesday, November 18, 2020 at 9:56 am

    I’m not sure what’s “amazing” about the police allowing the media to get into the thick of the action.

    They’d have come in for unnecessary criticism from the media if they hadn’t, and it isn’t the job of the police to protect the media if they choose to ignore police advice.

    I’d say the police are deliberately showing considerable restraint and the gap between the police and the military is, if anything, becoming wider. It’s only a few years ago that the military ‘reinforced’ the police, with soldiers at every police station and police box and accompanying every police patrol and even on the back of police motorbikes, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they were tempted to do so again.

  8. Avatar

    Toby Andrews

    Wednesday, November 18, 2020 at 10:38 am

    “police showing considerable restraint”
    They used water cannon, laced with irritant, tear gas, and might have used rubber bullets.
    No Thai can do any wrong to you, can they.
    The police are defending a dictatorship, members of whom were not even elected.
    They rule under false pretences. They lie. cheat, and are probably stealing the countries wealth.
    Suicides, in Thailand are up. Poverty is up. Businesses are going bankrupt.
    And you defend the thugs that protect them by stating that there are showing considerable restraint!

    • Avatar

      Issan John

      Saturday, November 21, 2020 at 1:29 pm

      There is no “might have used rubber bullets” – the evidence is clear that they didn’t.

      … and ‘no’, in my view plenty of Thais can do plenty of “wrong”, but I think it’s rather more constructive to criticise them when they do rather than when they don’t.

      It’s not the job of the police (or the military) to decide who governs the country, but it’s their job to enforce the law.

      In this case, their job was to protect Parliament from a large group of protesters who turned out to be violent and well prepared, some of whom were armed.

      They did so with considerable restraint – if you don’t think so, name any country where the police have used less force successfully under similar circumstances.

      Any at all.

      Maybe you could compare it to Cambodia, where the police simply opened fire on protesting garment workers demanding the minimum wage be raised from $100 a month, killing several.

  9. Avatar

    Issan John

    Wednesday, November 18, 2020 at 11:08 am

    You seem to be under the illusion that all Thais, regardless of political persuasion, want tourists here – or at least see an equal need for the tourist dollar.

    They don’t.

    A disproportionate number of “royalists” / ‘those in favour of the status quo’ would be perfectly happy to see tourism dry up as it drains the pool of cheap labour needed to man the factories, plant and harvest the crops, build the buildings, and provide the cheap manual and semi-skilled labour the Thai economy relies on.

    That doesn’t mean it’s as simple as a straight class / social divide and universal, by any means, but it’s certainly a major factor and its far from just restricted to the rich – after all, although it’s all comparative, many of those who aren’t rich are still ‘richer’ than others and want to keep it that way.

    “Brainwashed”?

    Well, I can recall happily singing along with “the rich man at his castle, the poor man at his gate, God made them high and lowly, and ordered their estate” without giving it a second thought at the time.

  10. Avatar

    RORY KEELAN

    Wednesday, November 18, 2020 at 11:57 am

    Another coup for Christmas? With no tourists, the field is free

  11. Avatar

    Geoff

    Saturday, November 28, 2020 at 3:01 pm

    Close ups of “Royalists” throwing bricks but no close ups of the protesters doing naughty things?
    Is Thaiger biased by any chance?

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