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Clashes with police follow for third night

Anti-government protesters have rallied at the Victory Monument and Government House, demanding that Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha resign for mishandling the Covid-19 situation.

Like in the past three days, nighttime clashes between police and demonstrators followed in the Din Daeng area in Bangkok after the rally ended.  

The protest began at 4pm, when around 300 demonstrators, led by the Thalu Fa group, held a symbolic activity at the Victory Monument.

There, they put a few mock body bags and gurneys on the road and put up a banner reading “Prayut out” in the area.

According to them, the goal of the rally was for Gen  Prayut to resign unconditionally.

Songpol Songthirak, a key member of the group, said what people wanted was efficient vaccines. “We’ve seen enough losses. If the tyrants won’t leave, we need to come out,” he said.

At 4pm, the group announced it would move to Government House.

They arrived there an hour later and started talking about the problems under the administration

They maintained they did not ask for violence and only wanted to unseat Gen Prayut. “If police crack down on us, we’ll respond by throwing paint only,” one of the speakers said.

Police used tear gas there after the protesters tried to enter a restricted zone.  

The group ended the rally at 6pm but some demonstrators went back to the Din Daeng area where riot police were stationed. Clashes were reported there as police were trying to seize control of the area.  

Since Saturday, different groups of anti-government protesters have taken to the streets in Bangkok and the provinces, demanding that Gen Prayut resign.

Their rally site in the capital has always been Gen Prayut’s house in the 1st Infantry Regiment. But to date, none of the groups managed to come even close to the base, which can be accessed from both Vibhavadi and Phahon Yothin roads.

Police have put up walls of containers blocking Vibhavadi Road, making Din Daeng, about one kilometre from the base, the key clash site between police and the demonstrators in this round of protests.

Tear gas, water canon trucks, rubber bullets, catapults, marbles, firecrackers and projectiles have mainly been used.  

The Thalu Fa group on Monday was no exception. They arranged to meet at 3pm at the Victory Monument in the hopes of paying the general a visit.

Their route, however, was slightly different from other groups before them.

They planned to take Soi 2 on Phahonyothin Road which leads to Vibhavadi Road to avoid the Din Daeng clash site of the past few days.

The group said they had talked about this with police, who told them they could use the soi.

But at noon, walls of containers were erected to block the soi, as well as Vibhavadi Rangsit, forcing them to change the destination to Government House, which they described as Gen Prayut’s second home.

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