Pro-democracy protesters gathered again this afternoon, August 11th, at the Victory Monument of Bangkok for another anti-establishment protest, organized by the “Thalu Fah” movement.
This was the second day in a row protesters have gathered in Bangkok and the third in five days. You can see our coverage of yesterday’s protests here.
The protest was preparing to march from the gathering site to the First Infantry Regiment headquarters, where Prime Minister Prayut Chan-O’Cha army housing was located, at around 4:00 PM.
Meanwhile, crowd control police were deployed around the Din Deang area. Barbed-wire fences and road traffic barricades were installed along Victory Monument roundabout and Sam Liam Din Daeng Junction to block protesters from marching.
However, as of 3:45 PM., a number of crowd control police reportedly approached the protest site to disperse the crowd shortly after they conducted symbolic performances against the Thai government and were about to begin the march. Rubber bullets and tear gas were reportedly used at the scene. This continues a recent trend of police dispersing protests before they even officially began marching.
The “Thalu Fah” protest organizer then called off the demonstration at around 3:55 PM. after police officers reportedly unlawfully used heavy force against the protesters, resulting in an initial confrontation and arrests of some participants, according to their statement.
After the dispersal, some protest frontliners and demonstrators headed to Sam Liam Din Daeng Junction, where heavy police officers and cargo containers were stationed. Despite continued requests from both police and protest organizers to disperse and cancel the protest, a core group of protesters refused to do so and continued to engage with police and law enforcement, seemingly angry about multiple days of protests being dispersed.
Law enforcement has maintained that the dispersal of the protests is not political, claiming they are simply following Covid-19 regulations that ban all mass gatherings and assemblies. Gatherings of over five people are currently banned in Bangkok. Protesters, however, feel that many of the rules are in effect to stop their voices and opinions and not due to Covid-19.
As of 5:04 PM., another clash between both parties was reported. Rubber bullets were fired at protesters during heavy rain. Some of the protesters were sheltering under the Din Daeng expressway but several gunshots were constantly heard at the site.
As of 5:40, a fire reportedly broke out from a police tow truck and a pile of rubber tires under the expressway. The confrontation was still stressful as police were constantly firing rubber bullets and tear gas while the protesters were reportedly responding with slingshots loaded with marbles.
As of 8:00 P.M. Police have reportedly completely seized the Din Daeng area after hours of confrontation with protesters, including what appeared to be regular fireworks and similar devices being thrown.
Police are, as of press time, warning protesters to go home. A mandatory curfew in the set begins at 9:00 P.M. and lasts until 4:00 A.M. and is part of the current Covid-19 restrictions and measures in Bangkok and 28 other provinces.
Tomorrow, Thursday, August 12th, 2021, is a public holiday, Mother’s Day, and the Queen Mother’s birthday. It is unclear how many people were arrested or injured in total during today’s clashes, we will provide a full update when that information is provided by relevant agencies, authorities, legal groups, and protest organizations.
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