Water cannons used against Thailand’s anti-establishment protesters tonight
The police have used water cannons against the protesters, after they tried to march on the Bureau of the Royal Household to submit letters, demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, constitutional amendments and sweeping reforms of the Monarchy.
After the water cannon stopped, the police said they wanted to negotiate. The protesters then sent Chonticha Jangreaw and Korakot Saengyenphun to represent the crowd.
Earlier today, the protesters began converging at the Democracy Monument, before the 4pm schedule, but not before a group of royalists, who were already there, positioned themselves in front of the Sorn Daeng restaurant.
Hawkers, selling ready-to-eat food, bottled water, soft drinks and T-shirts, had arrived earlier, to occupy the pavements along Rajdamnoen Avenue, in anticipation of a large protest.
Police deployed at the protest site urged royalists to stay put and not to cross the road, to avoid a direct confrontation with the anti-establishment protesters gathering on the other side. Security guards of the two opposing sides did their best to restrain their people. No untoward incident was reported.
Shortly after 4pm, the royalist group dispersed, leaving the Democracy Monument and the Rajdamnoen Avenue to the protesters.
One of the protest leaders, Pasaravalee Thanakitvibulphol, said that their aim today is to deliver the petition letter to the Bureau of the Royal Household, adding that she is not worried about the legal actions hanging over her, noting that all the protesters came for peace.
The protest organizers, the Free Youth Movement, did not offer any hint about the destination of the planned march until the last minute. Instead of heading towards the Royal Plaza and Government House, as speculated by the police, they actually headed for the Bureau of the Royal Household, near Sanam Luang.