Bangkok, 28 February 2021 (dpa/MIA) — Thai police on Sunday used tear gas, water cannons and rubber bullets against demonstrators marching to an army base in Bangkok which houses the residence of the Thai prime minister.
Thousands of demonstrators marched from the Victory Monument to call for reforms to the monarchy.
The authorities had set up a barricade of shipping containers and barbed wire at the entrance to the 1st Infantry Regiment, one of the many army units that Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha transferred to King Maha Vajiralongkorn’s control in 2019.
Migrant workers swelled the rally from neighboring Myanmar, protesting against the military coup that overthrew Aung San Suu Kyi’s leadership on Feb. 1.
Tensions escalated when protesters forcibly removed the barricades. Although the organizers called for the rally to end early, protesters hurled projectiles and clashed with authorities clad in full riot gear.
At least nine people were hurt during the clashes, the city’s Erawan Emergency Medical Center said.
Protests led by young people calling for the government to resign and reforms to the monarchy have stalled recently due to the country’s surging virus caseload, although the recent detention of four pro-democracy leaders charged with lese majeste has brought protesters back on the streets.
Thailand’s lese majeste law punishes offenders with up to 15 years in prison if they are found guilty of insulting the king, queen, heir or regent.