Pro-democracy protesters gathered this afternoon, August 22nd, for a demonstration led by the group “Thalu Fah” and anti-government activities from Kok Woa Intersection to the Democracy Monument in Bangkok. This was the eighth consecutive day in a row of protests in the capital.
The group lined up at the Kok Wua intersection at around 3:00 PM. before marching 400 meters to Ratchadamnoen Avenue, where they would stage a pro-democracy “Sports Day” protest and symbolic activities to call on the Prime Minister’s resignation as a response to his, according to the protesters, failure in terms of Covid-19 situation management in Thailand.
Prior to the scheduled protest time, heavy lines of cargo containers were installed at the Phan Phiphop Lila Bridge intersection, leading to the Grand Palace. Roads along the Ratchadamnoen Nok were closed and police forces were seen stationed at the area.
Former government supporter turned pro-democracy activist Tanat “Looknut” Thanakitamnuay also was present at today’s protest site after being critically injured in his right eye from what he said was a tear gas canister during a police crackdown last week. Despite permanently losing his eyesight, he told reporters that he would continue to participate in the protest and support the pro-democracy ideologies to the end.
At the site, many sports and traditional competitions were staged such as tug-of-war, football, blindfold pot-hitting, etc. with mockery pictures of the Prime Minister and other members of the government. The games and the gathering were called off at around 7:26 PM. after fireworks were lit up across the sky behind the Democracy Monument. The protest was peaceful, despite according to Bangkok Police being against the current Emergency Decree and Communicable Disease Orders banning gatherings of more than five people in Bangkok, due to Covid-19. TPN media does not estimate crowd sizes, but the crowd had more than five people present.
Meanwhile, another group of protesters, who called themselves “Thalu Gas”, was gathering at the Sam Liam Din Daeng junction and Vibhavadi Rangsit Road as of 4:40 PM. This is where for the past eight days continued confrontations between this group and police have taken place. Thalu Fah and other pro-democracy protest groups have distanced themselves from this group of protesters who continue to take a more hardline, aggressive stance against law enforcement.
The initial confrontation occurred when the protesters reportedly began throwing firecrackers and handmade explosions at cargo containers installed in front of the First Infantry Regiment. They also reportedly threw some firecrackers into the Royal Thai Army Band Department.
As of 5:26 PM., one of the protesters was reportedly shot with a rubber bullet at his head, causing some of them to move back. Despite that, more rubber bullets and water cannons were fired at the protesters as the police were attempting to seize the area. Some protesters reportedly fought back by throwing more ping-pong bombs. The confrontation continued, with both sides blaming the other for escalating the conflict.
As of 6:27 PM., the riot police blocked the head and end of the road and surrounded the area before capturing at least 25 protesters, both males, and females, at the site. This was the largest series of arrests at a protest yet, according to Bangkok police. This included police, based on video footage seen, forcefully stopping motorcycles with groups of protesters attempting to avoid law enforcement.
As of 7:00 PM., more protesters arrived at Din Daeng junction to confront the riot police. The police then used the water cannon trucks and the LRAD (sonic noise) to disperse the group. However, the protesters did not show signs of backing down and continued throwing objects at the force.
As of 10:00 P.M., police in pickup trucks and vans continued to round up protesters in the Din Daeng area, an hour after a mandatory Covid-19 related curfew in the capital. The vast majority of protests, however, had finished for the day. This followed a small group of protesters lighting fires and using Molotov cocktails in the area.
We will provide any further updates and summarize this evening’s events, in terms of anyone arrested or injured, tomorrow.
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