The Phuket News Novosti Phuket Khao Phuket

Login | Create Account | Search

Police remove containers, change policy

BANGKOK: Clashes between young people and riot police continued near Din Daeng on Saturday (Aug 21) even after police moved walls of containers blocking inbound Vibhavadi Road and changed their tactics for dealing with protesters there.

By Bangkok Post

Sunday 22 August 2021, 11:16AM

Dozens of teens rode up Vibhavadi Road unimpeded on Saturday evening after the barrier was moved one kilometre away to an area near the 1st Infantry Regiment where Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha ‒ the object of the demonstrators’ anger ‒ resides.

As they have for several nights running, police used water cannons and rubber bullets to drive the protesters back to Din Daeng and set up a defensive line in front of the Veterans General Hospital.

Earlier in the day national police chief Suwat Chaengyodsuk said the force’s policy for handling protesters at several locations would be changed, especially in Din Daeng and the adjacent Victory Monument area.

From now on, he said, police have been told not to enter residential properties, communities or small sois and to focus only on maintaining order on main roads and preventing arson.

The stacks of used containers put up to block access to Vibhavadi Road ‒ seen by some as a red flag that simply incited protesters further ‒ will also be removed, he said.

“We are not defending anyone. We’re just protecting public properties,” Pol Gen Suwat said.

The police chief also vowed to investigate incidents in which police were captured on camera shooting a young man on a motorcycle at close range and spraying rubber bullets on the ground floor of a Din Daeng flat.

He urged empathy for police on duty who have been working under pressure, saying that different kinds of weapons have been used by the teens.

“We already talked to the parents of these young people and found most of them are not living in the area and come from Greater Bangkok,” he said.

The announced change came as residents at the Din Daeng flats complex said they would submit a letter on Tuesday to the National Police Office and the prime minister in protest against the handling of the situation and the way it has affected their lives. At least 1,000 names of affected people were included in the letter.

Prasong Homsanan, a member of the complex’s committee, told reporters on Saturday that people living in blocks 1-4 had been affected by the nightly clashes.

Subscribe to The Phuket News

“Rubber bullets were shot into their rooms. Some who were outside were also hit by the bullets although they were not protesters,” he said. “It can be said we Din Daeng people have been dining amid tear gas every day now.”

He added that the barrier should be moved to the 1st Infantry Regiment.

“Putting the barrier here invites protesters to come here. Moving it elsewhere will also enable elderly people at the flats to go to the hospital across the road,” he noted.

For seven nights in a row, clashes between riot police and young people took place in Din Daeng. They have involved the use of fireworks, catapults, marbles, projectiles and laser beams by the protesters ‒ and rubber bullets, water cannon and tear gas by the police.

Dozens of people have been injured during the clashes. While both sides denied the use of live rounds, at least three teenagers have been shot and one of them is still in a coma. One policeman was also hit in the leg by a projectile that might have been a live round.

Apart from traffic congestion, residents in the area also complained about cases of “hot pursuit” where police reportedly fired rubber bullets indiscriminately into nearby flats where the protesters had fled to. Some passers-by were also hit.

A doctor complained that the clashes were also posing a danger to patients and health workers in nearby hospitals.

The leaders of anti-government protest groups, who have staged several rallies to protest against the government’s mishandling of the coronavirus pandemic, have urged people not to resort to violence and not to provoke the police as they are not the real "enemy".

But while the mainstream protest groups tend to be middle-class, media-savvy and well-educated, those who have been gathering near Din Daeng tend to be working-class youth who are angry about the state of the country and their lives in general.


Comment on this story

* Please login to comment. If you do not have an account please register below by simply entering a username, password and email address. You can still leave your comment below at the same time.


Be the first to comment.


Have a news tip-off? Click here


Phuket community
Capital not open to tourists yet: BMA

As everything happens with delay in Thailand, forget November, December, and January as well. Gone l...(Read More)

Tourism to re-open despite COVID, minister says

usual government propagande.. nothing will happen...all this back and forward with health organizati...(Read More)

Meth, gun seized in Phuket drug bust

2 very small fishes in the middle of the pond... good start but hey we all know this is just smoke i...(Read More)

Phuket officials defer ‘considering’ lifting ban on alcohol in restaurants

Perhaps the cases would have been far higher had bars- and the accompanying prostitution been allowe...(Read More)

Phuket officials defer ‘considering’ lifting ban on alcohol in restaurants

I recall the Veg Fest occurring last year- sans glorification of grotesque self-mutilations, so is t...(Read More)

Woman hit by bullet fired by road-rage gunman

Imagine if females committed 90% + of violent crimes- we'd all be locked up. Now that we have t...(Read More)

Complaints of fake news reports spiral upwards

The alcohol ban could be considered fake news... everyone know it is fake...then arrest the Governor...(Read More)

Phuket marks 235 new COVID cases

issue is cost? and the so highly renowed Gov office allowd to spend million to put shitty blu post a...(Read More)

Tourism to re-open despite COVID, minister says

Take care of your health now, lose the weight, exercise, etc. and prepare to stay off the roads bec...(Read More)

Safety first: health measures key to reopening

Vaccination is "key to reopening". It's the ONLY thing that matters. It makes me laug...(Read More)