Thai police use water cannons and tear gas against protesters in Bangkok

Police fired water cannons at anti-establishment protesters this evening (Saturday), after they broke through a barricade of cargo containers and razor-wire at Sanam Luang in Bangkok.

Police repeatedly warned the protesters that they could face arrest if they continue to try to break into Sanam Luang, where anti-riot police had formed a human barricade.

Protesters began to gather along one side of Sanam Luang, which was not barricaded, at about 5pm.  Half an hour later, police from Chana Songkhram police station read an announcement, warning the protesters that they were violating the Emergency Decree and could face two-year jail terms and/or a fine of 40,000 baht.

The protesters shrugged off the warning and tried to chase the police away. More protesters continued to pour in until at about 6.30pm, when some climbed onto the upper layer of containers, attached a rope and pulled one to the ground.

Police warned the protesters that they would use water cannons if they tried to break into the inner zone of Sanam Luang, which would enable the protesters to approach the Grand Palace.

Ignoring the police warning, the protesters removed containers, opening a gap in the barricade, which allowed them to pass through, as police started spraying water from the water cannons and announcing that anyone in Sanam Luang faces arrest.

The police resorted to the use of tear gas and rubber bullets at around 8:30pm.

Meanwhile, Chinnawat Chankrachang, a core leader of the Free Youth group, using a loud hailer, asked all the protesters to pull out of the off-limit zone and to retreat to the Pinklao Bridge area for their safety.

Ultimately, a protester representative began to negotiate with the authorities, to open a path for the protesters to leave.


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