Despite the emergency state; thousand of Thais protest in Bangkok
Thousands of Thais have rallied for a third consecutive day of protests in the capital Bangkok, defying once again a ban on gatherings.
The emergency decree bans gatherings of more than four people. Anyone publishing news or online reports that “harm national security or cause panic” is liable to prosecution.
However, around 10,000 anti-government protesters had gathered at the Ratchaprasong intersection in central Bangkok.
Protesters want the prime minister to resign, and reform of the monarchy.
They are also demanding the release of leading pro-democracy figures, who were arrested at the protest camp outside Thailand’s Government House shortly after the state of emergency was declared early Thursday morning.
On the other side, authorities used water cannons against demonstrators on Friday.
“We had no armor, just umbrellas,” a 25-year-old public servant told the AFP news service amid claims that the water contained a chemical that stung the eyes.
Meanwhile, the government said the measures were “necessary” to end the rampant street protests and maintain “calm and order.”
On Saturday, Police largely kept their distance in contrast to the tactics used to break up Friday’s protest.
“We will primarily negotiate,” police spokesman Yingyos Thepjamnong told a news conference. “Enforcing the law will be step by step, using methods that follow international standards.”
Weeks earlier, protests have taken place in Thailand’s street demanding the resignation of the PM Prayuth Chan-Ocha and reforms of the monarchy.
On Thursday, the government had attempted to curtail the student-led protest movement by issuing the emergency decree and banning gatherings of more than four people.