BANGKOK, Oct 17 — Thousands of protestors gathered at five sites in Bangkok today in defiance of an emergency decree.
Despite most Metropolitan Rapid Transit (MRT) and Bangkok Mass Transit System (BTS) Skytrain services being temporarily shutdown hours before the protest, thousands turned up for today’s protest.
The protesters braved the rain and gathered at Lat Phrao intersection, Bangna intersection, Wongwian Yai, Asoke BTS Station as well as Samyan Mitrtown.
The protests dispersed several hours later.
This followed Friday’s evening crackdown at Pathumwan intersection where police fired stinging liquid from water cannon at protesters to disperse the crowd even though protest organisers only confirmed the move a few hours earlier at about 3.10 pm (local time).
The protesters repeated their demands including for the prime minister to step down, a dissolution of parliament, rewriting the constitution, and reform of monarchy.
Prime Minister Prayuth Chan o-cha on Thursday declared “Serious Emergency Situation in Bangkok” to ban gathering of five or more people, effective at 4am (local time) in a bid to end three months of student-led street protests.
To date, police have arrested about 50 protesters including several leaders and activists since Tuesday, a day before the major rally on Wednesday on 47th anniversary of 1973 uprising.
Meanwhile, deputy Metropolitan Bangkok police commander Gen Piya Tawichai dismissed claims police used rubber bullet to disperse the crowd on Friday’s night.
“No tear gas was fired. Water cannon laced with chemical was used to disperse the crowd. It will not pose any health risk,” he said.