“Thalu Fah” pro-democracy protesters have staged another gathering at the Victory Monument in Bangkok and initially planned a march to the Thai Prime Minister’s house to put pressure on his resignation for two consecutive days this afternoon, August 16th.
The crowd of demonstrators flocked into the Phayathai road at around 3:00 PM. and staging anti-government speeches and symbolic performances before they were planning to march to the PM’s housing at the First Infantry Regiment.
Meanwhile at Sam Liam Din Deang intersection, cargo containers and barbed-wire fences were installed at the junction to block the protesters from marching to their destination. This is where multiple confrontations between police and a small group of aggressive protesters had taken place over the past week.
As of 4:15 PM., the “Thalu Fah” protest organizers had announced a surprise new destination and began a planned march to the Government House in order to avoid the possible confrontation with the police armed forces near the Prime Minister’s home.
The group reportedly arrived at the Chamai Maruchet Bridge near the Government House, where barricades, heavy police forces, and water cannon trucks were already stationed, as police had seemingly anticipated the move and remained one step ahead of protesters. The police had asked them to disperse within five minutes as they were violating the Emergency Decree and the Communicable Disease Act.
Due to Covid-19, all assemblies, gatherings, rallies, and protests of more than 5 people are prohibited in Bangkok. Authorities claim this has nothing to do with politics but is to stop the spread of the Covid-19 virus. Protesters disagree, claiming they have the right to their voices being heard and are taking Covid-19 precautions like wearing masks and using hand sanitizer.
As of 5:51 PM., the first use of tear gas was reported at the protest site following what was described by witnesses as a small group of protesters attempting to take down police barricades. This was despite protest organizers continually calling for peace and for protesters not to engage with police. The Thalu Fah organizer, therefore, had called off the demonstration shortly afterward. Some of the remaining protesters attempted to reach the police frontliners and fight back while some were trying to tell them to disperse as it was already the end of the demonstration.
More heavy forces arrived at the Sam Liam Din Deang junction where some independent protesters were gathering after the end of the Thalu Fah demonstration. As of 7:13 PM., high-pressure water cannons with laced tear gas were reportedly fired at the protesters from the Din Daeng tollway while they were reportedly fighting back by throwing firecrackers and shooting flashbang devices.
Thai media reported that a young Thai man had suffered a projectile wound to his neck area late this evening around 10:00 P.M., possibly a gunshot wound, although this is not confirmed. There are mixed reports as to the incident and what happened, including the status of the victim, we will provide further updates tomorrow morning as this is a developing story. The victim was taken to Rajavithi Hospital for medical treatment. The Din Daeng police have already stated that, according to them, they shot no live rounds and only rubber bullets.
This incident happened near the Din Daeng police station, according to early reports, as protesters and police continued to confront each other despite a mandatory curfew of 9:00 P.M. to 4:00 A.M.
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