11/19/2022, 17.02
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Police crackdown on anti-government protests at APEC summit

Today, leaders of the pro-democracy movement went back into the streets and filed a complaint against the agents involved in the violence. Protesters demanded the cancellation of the APEC summit and the removal of Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha. According to observers, albeit weakened, grassroots protests could continue until next year's elections.

Bangkok (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Thai police have been criticised for the harsh crackdown against yesterday’s protests in Bangkok, where the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit is currently underway.

Protesters and police clashed on Din So Road after a group of activists calling themselves Citizens Stop Apec 2022 tried to lead a march from the site local authorities set aside for demonstrations to the venue of the APEC summit, a few kilometres away.

Journalists, some of whom were slightly wounded, were also ordered to leave.

The protesters wanted to deliver a letter to the government in which they demand the summit’s cancellation and the removal of Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha. As a form of opposition to the police, they burnt chili peppers in a street with a camp stove (see picture).

For Piyanut Kotsan, director of Amnesty International Thailand, the Royal Thai Police does not comply with international standards, despite their repeated claims.

Police drove activists into a narrow street and used tear gas and rubber bullets, seriously injuring at least one protester in the eye. About 25 people were arrested and released today.

This morning some protest leaders took to the streets again; they also filed a complaint with the police against the agents involved in the violence.

“This is what happens under the government led by Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha,” said Patsaravalee Tanakitvibulpon, a young activist, who opposes the current regime.

“Police have no backbone and opt to use violence against people. Five demonstrators were injured and many arrested,” she added.

According to some observers, yesterday's protests were similar to the pro-democracy demonstrations of 2020. At that time, protesters demanded new laws to reform the Thai monarchy and an end to the government that came to power in a military coup in 2014.

For some, the protest movement, although weaker compared to two years ago, could continue to oppose Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, a former general, at least until next year’s elections.

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