Thai police use water cannons to quell anti-PM protests

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On Tuesday (Aug 17), Thai police used water cannons to disperse a protest at the national police headquarters, a day after skirmishes left a teenage protester in a coma with a bullet lodged in his head.
For the third day in a row, protesters gathered in central Bangkok to demand Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha resign over his handling of the country’s Covid-19 epidemic, which claimed the lives of a record 239 people on Tuesday.
“We’re out here demonstrating, but we’re getting tear gas, rubber bullets, and a brutal crackdown in response,” activist Songpon “Yajai,” Sonthirak said at the rally, which was the eighth in 11 days to see violence. “We made it clear that we are here peacefully to express our dissatisfaction with the government’s performance.”
Demonstrations have picked up steam in recent weeks, as groups that campaigned for Mr. Prayut’s departure last year have resurfaced, bringing with them a broader base of support from people fed up with the worsening coronavirus situation. This week, Thailand is on track to pass one million cases.
Protesters threw paint, ping-pong bombs, water bottles, and other things into the police headquarters, according to Kissana Phathanacharoen, a police spokeswoman. Separate fights occurred near Mr. Prayut’s home.
“We needed to enforce the law after numerous warnings by employing high water pressure that met international standards,” he told reporters.
According to a hospital, a man who was unconscious at Monday’s protest following a gunshot wound to his neck, with an X-ray revealing a bullet lodged close to his brain. The victim’s mother told local news outlets that her son was 15 years old.
Live gunfire was not used to disperse the protests, according to police.

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