A rally ended in violence when protesters started throwing punches at riot police during a demonstration in Thailand.
The protest took place near the town hall in Khon Kaen province on October 20 while Deputy Prime Minister General Prawit Wongsuwan and his followers went to monitor the flood situation in Thailand’s central and northeastern provinces.
Two people were injured at the protest. Panupong Srithananuwat, also known as Nice Daodin, suffered a swollen head and wounded hand while a mob’s guard was also injured.
Police later released Panupong, but the guard was detained after trying to physically attack a police officer.
Panupong said: ‘The incident was considered an attack by the police officers using violence in a peaceful assembly. We did not cause trouble, but a police officer turned off the speakers and seized our mic.’
‘We went over to take the mic back but were attacked by the police. I will file a complaint against every police officer who uses violence.’
The clashes were the latest flashpoint in the ongoing tension between the military government and a hardcore group of protesters that began organising regular rallies last year.
Demonstrations have resumed in recent months following a fall in the number of Covid-19 cases and loosening of restrictions. They are pushing for democratic reforms to the country’s political and social structure.
However, government officials say the unrest is not widely supported and is being funded by disaffected opposition, exiled politicians and extremist groups who encourage students to join the protests. They claim that social media bots are being used to provoke civil disobedience among impressionable youth – who could then face years in prison for getting involved with the anti-establishment rallies.