By Thai Newsroom Reporters
HUNDREDS OF STREET PROTESTERS today (Aug. 17) engaged in a standoff with police outside the National Police headquarters as a massive move to press Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha to step down continued.
The street protesters, led by human rights activist group Thalufah (Through the Sky), briefly gathered outside the National Police headquarters, barely 100 metres from Ratchaprasong intersection, and threw bags of pink dye at a large signboard reading ”the National Police headquarters”, prompting the police to use water cannons from behind the front gates of the headquarters to disperse them.
Though the anti-Prayut protesters said they did not regard the police as ”enemy”, crowd-control policemen, armed with batons and shields, stepped out of the headquarters and gradually moved to secure the area, forcing the demonstrators to retreat down the streets and end the hour-and-a-half protest.
Read earlier reports: Police: Shots were fired but not by us
Meanwhile, crowd-control police quietly took positions at Sam Liam Din Daeng area, less than two kilometres from Victory Monument, including some who armed themselves with tear gas and rubber bullet guns in an apparent mission to put up resistance to any anti-Prayut demonstrators, many of whom being vocational students or riding on motorcycles.
For the last several days, the adolescent demonstrators have engaged in relatively tense standoffs with the crowd-control police at Sam Liam Din Daeng intersection, barely a kilometre from the First Infantry Regiment barracks which houses Prayut’s residence on Vibhavadi Rangsit Road.
The police fired tear gas and rubber bullets at the young protesters who have acted independently of anti-Prayut activist groups. Some used firecrackers and flairs in response to the police.
Protesters throwing bags of pink dye at National Police headquarters during today’s protest. All photos: Siam Rath