Thousands of pro-democracy demonstrators remained gathered, Wednesday evening, November 18, in the center of Bangkok, the Thai capital, the day after clashes with the police and ultraroyalists during which six demonstrators were wounded by bullets. The rally gathered some 20,000 demonstrators in the early evening, according to an estimate by Agence France-Presse (AFP).
“You must be the king of the people! “, ” Freedom ! “, have tagged on the asphalt of one of the major commercial arteries of the capital of the protesters, while the movement is becoming more and more virulent against the monarchy – a taboo there is still little time in the kingdom .
“Tonight is our first victory, that of freedom of expression, said Luke, 29, one of the graffiti artists. I didn’t think that would ever happen in my country. ” In Thailand, any criticism of the monarch and his family can be considered a crime of lese majesty, punishable by many years in prison.
Several thousand demonstrators – some wearing shields, helmets and gas masks – were gathered outside the police headquarters, protected by dump trucks, concrete blocks and barbed wire. Some threw projectiles at the wall of the building while others used water guns to spray paint inside the compound.
Earlier, national police spokesman Yingyos Thepjamnong warned protesters not to approach the building, adding that more than 2,000 police officers had been deployed to guard it.
Fifty-five injured on Tuesday
In the streets since the summer, the movement calls for the resignation of the prime minister, Prayuth Chan-O-Cha (in office since a coup in 2014), and a rewrite of the Constitution, deemed too favorable to the army . Above all, he calls for the abolition of the lese majesté law, control over the royal fortune and the sovereign’s non-interference in political affairs.
“Young people were injured yesterday, it’s not fair, they just want democracy”, said Daeng, a real estate developer, worried about his 20-year-old daughter. On Tuesday, riot police used water cannons and tear gas against protesters gathered near Parliament, where MPs and senators were debating possible constitutional reform.
Parliament voted in the evening to decide which draft constitutional amendments it would consider. He rejected the one who opened the possibility of a reform of the royalty, just accepting the establishment of a constituent assembly.
Clashes also broke out on Tuesday between pro-democracy activists and ultraroyalist “yellow shirts”. Fifty-five people were injured, six of them from live ammunition, according to Bangkok’s Erawan Emergency Medical Center. The origin of the shots remains unknown, the police denying having fired with live ammunition or even with rubber projectiles. Investigations are underway and at least one ultraroyalist was injured by these shots, according to the police.