BANGKOK, Aug. 7 (Reuters) – More than a thousand Thai anti-government protesters clashed with police on Saturday, as they demonstrated against the government’s inability to deal with coronavirus outbreaks and its impact on the economy.
Around 100 police in riot gear cordoned off a road near the Victory Monument in the capital Bangkok with containers and used water cannons, tear gas and rubber bullets to stop a march towards Government House, Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha’s office.
“Tear gas and rubber bullets were used to control the crowd. Our goal is to maintain order, ”police spokeswoman Krisana Pattanacharoen told reporters.
Protesters threw ping-pong bombs, stones and marbles, he added.
Dozens of protesters were seen carried away on motorcycles and in ambulances. Erawan Emergency Medical Center said at least two civilians and three officers were injured.
“We want Prayuth to resign because people are not getting vaccinated,” said a 23-year-old protester, who only gave his first name “Aom,” for fear of repercussions.
“We have no jobs and no income, so we have no choice but to protest. “
Some 6% of Thailand’s population of over 66 million has been fully vaccinated and most of the country, including Bangkok, is on lockdown with a nighttime curfew. Gatherings of more than five people are currently prohibited.
Nonetheless, street protests against the government have been staged in recent weeks by several groups, including Prayuth’s former political allies, as frustrations mount over his handling of the health crisis. Read more
Thailand reported a record high of nearly 22,000 new COVID-19 infections in a single day on Saturday and the highest number of deaths, 212 deaths.
The Southeast Asian country has reported a total of 736,522 cases and 6,066 deaths from the coronavirus since the pandemic began last year.
Additional reports by Panarat Thepgumpanat; Editing by Jacqueline Wong, Kirsten Donovan
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