Several thousand demonstrators marched on Sunday in cars or two-wheelers in Bangkok, the capital of Thailand, to demand the resignation of Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-O-Cha, increasingly criticized for his handling of the crisis in Thailand. coronavirus and its impacts on the economy.
Hundreds of cars and two-wheelers blocked certain axes of the center of the Thai capital with a concert of horns, many pedestrians making, in their passage, the three-finger salute in sign of resistance to the authorities.
“We call for the immediate resignation of Prayut Chan-O-Cha. He has no capacity to administer this country, ”said Nattawut Saikua, one of the organizers who was close to the former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, bête noire of the current government.
At the end of the day, the police used water cannons against protesters on foot who threw projectiles at the police.
Other smaller gatherings were organized in the seaside resort of Pattaya and Chiang Mai, in the north of the country.
The pro-democracy movement led by Thai youth pushed tens of thousands of people into the streets in 2020 to demand the departure of Prayut Chan-O-Cha, in power since the 2014 coup, and a reform of the monarchy, a previously taboo subject in the country.
The protest had weakened in recent months because of restrictions linked to Covid-19 and legal proceedings against dozens of protesters.
But the movement has regained strength for a week with almost daily demonstrations in Bangkok.
The cause is the outbreak of Covid-19, with more than 20,000 new cases every day, the slowness of the vaccination campaign and the economic impact of the restrictions (increase in unemployment, permanent closure of many shops, etc.).
“The government has made it clear that it does not want to be held responsible for all the losses caused […] he must resign, ”said Nattawut Saikua.
The latest rallies have sparked clashes, with police using water cannons, tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse them.
At least three protesters were injured on Friday, including one seriously in the eye.
Accused of being too firm, the police said the use of force was necessary to maintain public order.
“I emphasize that we are relying on international standards,” National Police Chief Suwat Jangyodsuk said on Sunday.
“Gatherings are banned in Bangkok because they could spread the pandemic.”
Over the past month, more than 130 demonstrators have been arrested. Most have been released on bail pending trial, according to Suwat Jangyodsuk.