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Police fire rubber bullets at protesters in Bangkok on day 1 of Apec summit

Police fire rubber bullets at protesters in Bangkok on day 1 of Apec summit

BANGKOK: Police fired rubber bullets to prevent demonstrators moving from Din So Rd near the Democracy Monument in Bangkok to the Apec summit venue on Friday (Nov 18), and made eight arrests.

policepoliticsviolence
By Bangkok Post

Friday 18 November 2022, 02:57PM


Protesters confront riot police near the Democracy Monument on Friday morning (Nov 18) as the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) summit begins in Bangkok. Photo: AFP

Protesters confront riot police near the Democracy Monument on Friday morning (Nov 18) as the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) summit begins in Bangkok. Photo: AFP

The situation turned tense as the protest group calling itself “Citizens Stop Apec 2022’’ began to move from the site towards the Queen Sirikit National Convention Centre, the venue of the Apec summit. Crowd control police lined up to block them. Reporters and other people were ordered to leave the site, reports Bangkok Post.

Police asked demonstrators to return to the Lan Khon Muang Town Square in front of Bangkok City Hall, the designated site for their gathering. Senior police stood firm that they would not allow the protesters to move from the area.

Around 10am, leading protesters announced from a rally vehicle that they would raise the level of the rally and gave police 20 minutes to prepare before the protest group moved out. Demonstrators later moved closer to police vehicles and barricades set up along the road, resulting in a clash between riot control police and the protesters.

Police used shields and rubber batons to stop the crowd. They later arrested eight demonstrators, seven men and one woman, who were taken to Thung Song Hong Police Station.

Angry demonstrators kept shouting “Release our friends!’’ as they gathered near the front row of police on Din So Rd. Riot control police armed with tear gas were in the second row.

About 10.05am, anti-government activist Patsaravalee “Mind’’ Tanakitvibulpon made a speech from atop a vehicle, criticising the government for using police to fight the people.

She said the riot police actions were tantamount to a violation of human rights and the liberty of the people, whose rights were protected under the democratic and constitutional systems.

She demanded the immediate release of the eight protesters. Around 10.12am, riot control police began firing rubber bullets. Ms Patsaravalee asked why they had to fire rubber bullets at people with empty hands. Ms Patsaravalee later showed the rubber bullets to reporters.

"Police fired rubber bullets at us despite the fact we are unarmed. We never intended to assault them. They told us they would give way, so we could submit our demand.

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"This is what happens under the government led by Gen Prayut Chan-ocha. Police have no backbone and opt to use violence against people. Five demonstrators were injured and many arrested,’’ she said.

With green growth in mind

In terms of agenda, the annual meeting of Pacific-rim leaders started in Bangkok with the focus on taming surging food and energy prices partly driven by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and realising inclusive and sustainable growth for the region, reports Bangkok Post.

Gen Prayut said he wanted this week’s meeting to discuss how leaders can help transition to sustainable economic growth and development.

The Apec leaders are expected to address issues of climate change, as well as facilitating free, fair and sustainable trade and investment.

It was unclear whether they would be able to issue a post-summit leaders’ declaration, given a rift over Russia’s aggression. Other than that, Apec leaders are expected to agree on issues such as promoting free and fair trade and investment.

Despite differences over the Ukraine crisis among member economies, including Japan, the United States and Russia, the leaders plan to adopt "Bangkok goals" for the Bio-Circular-Green Economy concept.

The Apec leaders were also slated for talks with the Apec Business Advisory Council on Friday (Nov 18), the sole official private-sector advisory entity for the Apec leaders’ consultation comprising members from the 21 economies participating in Apec.

Representing about half of global trade and 60% of the world economy, Apec groups Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Papua New Guinea, Peru, the Philippines, Russia, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, the US and Vietnam.

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JohnC | 19 November 2022 - 09:30:26

So typical of tyrants to tell their storm troopers to fire on unarmed protestors. With any luck other nations leader's may drop hints to the Thai PM to step down for the good of the country. A non-military government who didn't sieze power by coup.is something millions of Thais want and deserve to be able to vote for.

Fascinated | 18 November 2022 - 22:59:57

Anyone else find the location ironic?

 

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