The Guardian (Nigeria)

Police clash with protesters demanding Thailand PM’S resignatio­n

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POLICE have used rubber bullets, tear gas and water cannon against protesters in Thailand’s capital Bangkok as demonstrat­ors defied COVID- 19 restrictio­ns to call for Prime Minister , Prayuth Chan- ocha’s resignatio­n.

The protests came yesterday as the kingdom is currently facing its worst wa ve of COVID- 19 infections, registerin­g daily case records as hospitals buckle under pressure.

Exacerbati­ng the toll has been the government’s slow procuremen­t of vaccines, which has drawn criticism as Thailand’s economy reels from increasing­ly severe restrictio­ns on businesses.

Defying rules banning gatherings of more than five people, protesters piled mock body bags flecked with red paint near the intersecti­on of the capital’s Democracy Monument.

“We will die from COVID if we stay home, that is why we have to come out.

“Prayuth Chan- ocha must resign without any condition; the second is a budget cut to the monarchy and army to be used against COVID, and the third is to bring in MRNA vaccine,” shouted a protest organiser, who listed three demands.

A giant banner with a picture of Prayuth – the mastermind of a 2014 coup – was unfurled on the road, with protesters then stomping on his face.

As they marched on Government House, they were led by a group wearing gas masks and hard hats and were joined by motorbike drivers who hoisted the mock body bags.

But authoritie­s deployed water cannon early and blocked the main road, forcing protesters to retreat.

Police also fired rubber bullets and tear gas. It sent protesters scattering, coughing non- stop as they tried to rinse their eyes with saline solution.

By late afternoon, the two sides were standing off as clouds of gas rose in the air. It was unclear how many were injured.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, Thailand has recorded 403,000 coronaviru­s cases and has a death toll of 3,341.

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