UPDATE: Riot police deploy water cannons and tear gas at protest outside Parliament

PHOTO: Twitter: @foeiichnun

Police in riot gear and gas masks used high pressure water cannons and tear gas against pro-democracy protesters who attempted to remove a 3 layer concrete barricade set up to block passage to the Thai Parliament building in Bangkok. A police officer confirmed with the reporters on site that the water was laced with tear gas.

Photos shared in social media show police arming themselves with rubber bullet guns, shields, helmets and gas masks. Protesters reportedly threw water bottles filled with blue paint and homemade smoke bombs at police which is believed to have triggered police to deploy the water cannon. In a press conference at the scene, an officer said water was used at first, but then officers laced the water with tear gas when the protesters continued to throw smoke bombs and paint at the officers.

From a distance, red and blue smoke was seen clouding the area around the riot truck as water was sprayed at protesters. Police were heard yelling through megaphones telling the protesters to “stop throwing things at us… the police have no choice but to defend this position.” When the water appeared to run out, grey clouds of what is reportedly tear gas took over. Even police in riot gear had to retreat. People fleeing the area were heard coughing.

Police allowed Thai media to be in close proximity to the intervention. While there are metal barricades blocking the media from the protest, when there is a clash, the reporters and photographers just step in.

Protesters, calling on a rewrite of the 2017 Constitution and government reform, planned the rally at the capital while Parliament holds a session to vote on draft charter amendments. Police prepared for the rally, sealing off a 50 metre radius around the Parliament building with barbed wire, barriers and public buses.

The truck’s water tank was refilled at around 3:45pm and an officer was seen pouring a liquid, possibly tear gas, into the tank. Police continued to deploy the water cannon trucks. At one point, protesters were using large inflatable rubber duck pool floats to block the water sprayed from the riot trucks. Around 5pm, protesters were able to remove metal barriers blocking the Parliament building.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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Caitlin Ashworth

Caitlin Ashworth is a writer from the United States who has lived in Thailand since 2018. She graduated from the University of South Florida St. Petersburg with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and media studies in 2016. She was a reporter for the Daily Hampshire Gazette In Massachusetts. She also interned at the Richmond Times-Dispatch in Virginia and Sarasota Herald-Tribune in Florida.

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