Thai police use tear gas against rebel protesters

Bangkok, Thailand (AP) — Thai police held a rally in Bangkok on Sunday using tear gas, rubber bullets, and water cannons despite coronavirus restrictions banning rallies of more than five people. Disbanded a rebel protester.

Demonstrators demanded the resignation of Prime Minister Prayut Chan-Ocha, insisted on cutting monarchy and military budgets during a pandemic, and of the mRNA coronavirus vaccine that has not yet been brought to Thailand on a large scale. Requested import. Fight the virus surge.

The rally took place when Thailand recorded the largest daily jump of virus infection (about 11,400) and new restrictions were announced, including the closure of most domestic flights. Many parts of the country, including Bangkok, are already under some form of blockade, including nighttime bans as well as restrictions on meetings and business operations.

As infectious diseases and deaths increase and more people face financial distress, there is increasing disapproval of the government’s response to the pandemic.

There is widespread criticism of the Prayut government for failing to secure an early and adequate vaccine supply. Thailand relies primarily on two vaccines, including China’s Sinovac shots. Some studies have shown that this is less effective against delta variants, which are currently causing havoc throughout Southeast Asia.

The other major vaccine in Thailand is AstraZeneca, which is produced by a Thai company owned by the King, but since June, in less than expected amounts.

The Sunday rally was led by Free Youth, a student protest group that gathered tens of thousands of people in last year’s protests. With the resignation of the Prayut administration, the constitution amendment to democracy, the national monarchy is more responsible.

Jutatip Silan, one of the leading free-use activists, said in a telephone interview with the Associated Press that many people died of COVID-19 due to lack of transparency and mismanagement of Prayut and his cabinet. Blame.

In Thailand, a total of 403,386 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 3,341 related deaths have been recorded since the pandemic began. Since April of this year, more than 90% of cases and deaths have occurred. For the first time, the number of daily virus deaths this weekend exceeded 100.

“If we don’t come out now, we don’t know how long we can survive, and if we have the opportunity to do it again,” she said of the virus and protest.

Protesters began to gather at the Democracy Monument in the capital early in the afternoon, where organizers had N95 masks, medical gloves, disinfectants sprays, and raincoats before going to the government building hosting the Prime Minister’s residence. Was distributed.

The organizers also handed out simulated corpses in white burial shrouds representing the victims of COVID-19. These corpses were later placed on a statue of Prayut at an intersection near the government building and fired. The creepy person also recalled images of the bodies of several Thai activists believed to have been kidnapped in 2019 from a place of exile in neighboring Laos.

To avoid the spread of the infection, many protesters drove or rode motorcycles instead of marching as in previous protests.

About 1,500 riot police were deployed with water cannon trucks. Police deputy spokesman Kissana Pattanacharoen admitted that authorities used water cannons, tear gas, and rubber bullets to disperse protesters after several warnings were issued.

Although reports of the injured were not complete, paramedics at the city’s Erawan Medical Center said the two had been sent to the hospital from a protest that the organizers ended before dawn.

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