Thai police crack down on protesters; PM refuses to resign

BANGKOK: Riot police in Thailand cracked down on 1000’s of student-led protesters who rallied Friday within the capital in defiance of a strict state of emergency, whereas the prime minister rejected requires his resignation.
The protesters gathered in torrential monsoon rains to push their calls for, together with that Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha go away workplace, the structure be amended and the nation’s monarchy bear reform.
It was the second day they defied an order to not collect, imposed after some demonstrators heckled a royal motorcade, an unprecedented growth in Thailand, the place the monarchy is often held in reverence.
Police used water cannons and charged on the crowd, scattering protesters, onlookers and reporters. Journalists who had been hit by the water mentioned it induced a stinging sensation and was dyed blue, to mark protesters for doable later arrest.
Police appeared to have assumed management of the rally website, and far of the gang retreated down a avenue to close by Chulalongkorn College, the place some organizers suggested them to shelter in the event that they weren’t going straight house.
Police mentioned a number of protesters and police had been injured throughout the pushing and shoving and 7 individuals had been arrested. An opposition lawmaker, Pita Limjaroenrat, put the variety of arrests at 100.
Police had earlier closed roads and put up barricades round a serious Bangkok intersection the place some 10,000 protesters defied the brand new decree Thursday. Police in riot gear secured the realm, whereas malls within the usually busy procuring district closed early. Close by mass transit stations had been closed to cease crowds of protesters from getting close to the realm.
The coed protesters, nonetheless, merely moved down the road to a different giant intersection.
Prayuth’s authorities declared a strict new state of emergency for the capital on Thursday, a day after the heckling of the motorcade. The state of emergency outlaws public gatherings of greater than 5 individuals and bans the dissemination of stories that’s deemed to threaten nationwide safety. It additionally offers authorities broad powers, together with detaining individuals at size with out cost.
Quite a lot of protest leaders have already been rounded up because the decree went into impact. On Friday one other two activists had been arrested underneath a regulation protecting violence in opposition to the queen for his or her alleged half within the heckling of the motorcade. They might resist life in jail if convicted.
The protest motion was launched in March by college college students and its unique core calls for had been new elections, adjustments within the structure to make it extra democratic, and an finish to intimidation of activists.
The protesters cost that Prayuth, who as military commander led a 2014 coup that toppled an elected authorities, was returned to energy unfairly in final 12 months’s basic election as a result of legal guidelines had been modified to favor a pro-military celebration.
However the motion took a surprising flip in August, when college students at a rally aired unprecedented criticism of the monarchy and issued requires its reform. Utilizing direct language usually expressed in whispers if in any respect, the audio system criticized the king’s wealth, his affect and that he spends a lot of his time exterior the nation.
Thailand’s royal household has lengthy been thought of sacrosanct and a pillar of Thai identification. King Maha Vajiralongkorn and different key member of the royal household are protected by a lese majeste regulation that has frequently been used to silence critics who threat as much as 15 years in jail if deemed to have insulted the establishment.

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