BANGKOK • Pro-democracy activists tussled with police in Bangkok yesterday when demonstrators gathered outside a police station in a show of support for protest leaders.
Scores of activists removed a steel barricade as they tried to move closer to the Samranrat police station, where the leaders had gone to answer summonses. They faced multiple charges including violating Article 116, which covers sedition, and breaching Covid-19 restrictions on public gatherings.
“Please don’t do this, we are looking after the situation,” police said over loudspeakers as activists pushed through metal fences. One threw a bucket of paint, covering an officer in blue.
Demonstrators have returned to Thailand’s streets to call for the removal of the government of 2014 coup leader Prayut Chan-o-cha after a disputed election last year, reviving memories of more than a decade of unrest prior to the coup.
“This fight has to end with our generation,” one activist at yesterday’s protest said. The situation eased when the authorities agreed to have the group move closer to the building and hold a small rally.
Prime Minister Prayut said on Wednesday the country would be “engulfed in flames” if the situation persisted, his most serious warning yet.
Thailand has seen a month of near-daily rallies led by students calling for his removal, a new Constitution and a new election, with some events drawing more than 10,000 protesters. Protesters are also calling for reform of the royal institution, with student leaders on Wednesday submitting a list of demands for the monarchy to a parliamentary committee.
So far, more than a dozen activists have been arrested on various charges, including sedition, over the street protests.
Protesters have vowed to move ahead with a planned demonstration on Sept 19, the anniversary of an earlier military coup in 2006, and a pro-government protest is planned for this Sunday.
REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE