Anti-government protesters rallied in the Thai capital to oppose the state’s failure to cope with the COVID outbreak and economy.
The Thai police fired tear gas and rubber bullets at the demonstrators in Bangkok to protest the government’s failure to respond to the coronavirus outbreak and its economic impact.
On Saturday, more than 1,000 protesters ignored the restrictions on public gatherings and marched to the office and government building of Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, demanding his resignation.
The police used containers to block a road near the Victory Monument and fired tear gas and rubber bullets to push the protesters away.
“We are guarding this line,” the police announced through a loudspeaker.
Approximately 100 police officers were wearing riot gear and set up shields a few meters away from where the demonstrators gathered.
In recent weeks, several groups, including Prayut’s former political allies, have staged street protests against the government because they are increasingly frustrated by the management of the coronavirus outbreak and the economic damage caused by the pandemic measures.
The Thai government has come under fire for the slow launch of its COVID vaccination program, and protesters have also asked it to start using mRNA vaccines such as Pfizer and Moderna instead of China’s Sinovac.
On Saturday, Thailand reported nearly 22,000 newly reported COVID-19 cases and a record of the highest daily death toll-212.
Overall, since the beginning of the pandemic last year, it has reported 736,522 coronavirus cases and 6,066 deaths.
27-year-old protester Nat told AFP: “I am very worried about this situation. Although the COVID outbreak is serious, we will still have to continue fighting.”
Last year, a democratic street protest movement led by youths rose, attracting tens of thousands of people to a rally in Bangkok at its peak.
The demonstrators demanded the resignation of the former army commander-in-chief Prayut, who came to power in the 2014 coup d’etat, and demanded changes to the military constitution and called for changes to the monarchy.