Anti-Prayut protest meets police resistance at Din Daeng again

What promised to be a peaceful march to Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha’s house by the Talu Fa (Pierce the Sky) group made no more headway than other protests earlier this week. The protesters withdrew after police used force to keep them from reaching their destination.

Protester flash a 3 fingers salute while holding a banner stating "Prayut must get out immediately".

Early in the afternoon, around 100 people gathered at Victory Monument to demand Prime Minister Prayut’s immediate resignation. The organisers emphasised that the protest was a peaceful effort to bring their demands to the attention of the public. 

Meanwhile, at least 6 activists from Mok Luang Rim Nam group were arrested while trying to place wreaths in the Royal Palace and submit a letter to the Privy Council. They were taken to the Phra Ratchawang Police Station.

The group sought to pay respect to those who have died from Covid-19. They also want to inform the King that individuals calling for reform of the monarchy were facing a police crackdown and severe legal consequences.

According to group member Sopon Suraritthamrong, the police charged them with violating both the Emergency Decree and the Maintenance of Public Sanitary and Order Act as soon as they put their wreaths on the ground. 

The activists were later told that they would only be charged for the latter offence and fined 2,000 baht person, provided they deleted photos and a Facebook live video of the police and the event. They agreed and were released after paying 10,000 baht provided by the Ratsadon Prasong Fund, which makes use of public donations to support individuals accused of crimes while exercising their political rights.

Attempting to move peacefully

At 15.00, cars from the Talu Fa group arrived at the Victory Monument. One contained protest supplies - piles of longan and mangosteen to be dumped in protest of falling fruits prices and cloth sacks to help protect protesters from police tear gas.

A poster urging people to throw bags of coloured water, not bottles and fireworks, was spotted. The hope was to avoid any escalation which might trigger a police crackdown.

In an opening speech, a protester blamed government incompetence for rising unemployment and a deepening economic crisis, adding that when people came out to protest, the government responded with force. 

Shortly afterward, longan and mangosteen were poured on the street and then burned to protest sharp price declines.

Longan and mangosteen were burned using hay as fuel.

At 17.00, protesters arrived at Din Daeng Intersection where a container barricade awaited. Some firecrackers were lit, but organisers again urged people to throw bags of coloured water instead. When some of the protesters tried to tear down the container blockade, police responded with tear gas, affected many of those marching.

A protester runs away as being encumbered by tear gas. 

At this stage, a number of marchers began throwing firecrackers. A small fire was also set under the tollway.

At 17.25, with the situation deteriorating, the Talu Fa group announced that the protest was over. However, many protesters chose to remain at the Din Daeng Intersection amidst the sound of small explosions. The clash and chase went into the evening.

Deputy Metropolitan Police Bureau Chief Police Major General Piya Tawichai told the media that the protesters were trying to bring down the container barricade.  He also reported that protesters were not only firing stones and glass at police with sling-shots but also throwing Molotov cocktails and smoke bombs as well, obliging officers on the ground to use force to restore public order at 18.30.

According to Major General Piya, 14 motorcycles were seized and 1 protester was arrested.

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