BANGKOK, Aug 8 — Anti-government protesters today returned to the streets in Bangkok repeating their demand for Prime Minister Prayuth Chan o-cha to step down, claiming the premier has failed to effectively handle the COVID-19 outbreak.
Defying the ban on public gatherings and COVID-19 restrictions, more than a thousand anti-government protesters clashed with police at Din Daeng Intersection.
Police fired tear gas, water cannon, and rubber bullets to disperse the crowd at Din Daeng Intersection after issuing warnings to the protesters while in turn protesters threw objects including water bottles, rocks, and firecrackers at them.
A witness told Bernama few protesters were injured including one hit by a tear gas canister on his ankle. Besides that, a police truck was set on fire by the protesters at Victory Monument.
Earlier, the protesters gathered at Democracy Monument which is near the Grand Palace. However, the organizers of Free Youth and other groups including Redem (Restart Democracy) announced the change of venue to Government House where the prime minister’s office is located.
However, shipping containers were placed to block the protesters’ route prompting the organizers to change the venue to Victory Monument with the message sent through Telegram.
As Thailand is battling its worst COVID-19 outbreak, the protesters blamed Prayuth led government for mismanaging the COVID-19 pandemic and the slow vaccination rollout.
Since mid-July last year, anti-government protesters have been rallying in Bangkok and other cities, reiterating their demands for political change, including for the prime minister to step down, the dissolution of Parliament, the rewriting of the Constitution and monarchical reform.
Over the last 24 hours, Thailand recorded 21,838 new COVID-19 cases and 212 deaths, bringing the total infections in the kingdom to 736,522 and 6,066 deaths to date.