(Bangkok) Thai police fired tear gas and rubber bullets on Saturday at several hundred pro-democracy protesters who had gathered in Bangkok to demand political reform and better management of the coronavirus epidemic.
Posted on Aug 7, 2021 at 8:02 am
“Murderous government”, “Resignation”, we could read on the posters, while on Saturday almost 22,000 cases of COVID-19 and 212 deaths were recorded, a record.
Protesters criticize the slowness of the vaccination campaign: Less than 4.5 million of the 70 million Thais received two injections.
They are calling on authorities to use messenger RNA vaccines like Pfizer and Moderna in place of China’s Sinovac, which is said to be less effective against the Delta variant.
“We have to keep fighting despite the epidemic,” Nat, 27, told AFP.
The pro-democracy movement is calling for the resignation of Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-O-Cha, which resulted from a 2014 coup and five years later was legitimized by controversial elections, as well as a far-reaching reform of the monarchy.
At the forefront of their demands is the abolition of the dreaded libel article, which is punishable by up to 15 years in prison for defamation, criticism and insult to the king and his family.
Based on this text, more than 110 people have been charged in the past few months.
At the height of the pro-democracy movement last year, tens of thousands of protesters marched through the streets of the Thai capital.
The protest has weakened in recent months due to the legal reaction of the authorities and the pandemic, but demonstrations are still being organized sporadically.