Thai police came under criticism on Tuesday by Thai internet users for its violent dispersal of a demonstration against the military coup in Myanmar.
Following the military takeover of power in Naypyidaw on Monday, Myanmar’s diaspora and pro-democracy student groups from Thailand rallied in front of the Myanmar Embassy against the coup.
Speeches and colorful posters outlined the demonstrators’ grievances against the Myanmar military with Thai students linking the putsch to Thailand’s own military coup in 2014. The students said they came to join the rally in solidarity against authoritarianism.
However, the demonstrations were violently dispersed by Thai police before reaching its natural conclusions with clashes between the Thai students and the police resulting in several injuries.
BREAKING – Thai Riot Police are attacking anti-Myanmar coup protesters and dispersing the demonstrations.— Thai Enquirer (@ThaiEnquirer) February 1, 2021
The Thai government has previously said that the coup was an internal Myanmar matter and not their concern.
Protesters are unarmed. #savemyanmar #myanmar #รัฐประหารพม่า pic.twitter.com/lJ9cJeq9nA
The incident prompted internet users to take to social media using the hashtag #ตํารวจไทยขยะสังคม (Thai Police, the trash of society). As of Tuesday morning,the hashtag has been used in over 26,000 tweets.
Many of the internet users criticized the police for their heavy-handed tactics and their continuing arrest of pro-democracy activists.
The police have defended their actions as necessary as the demonstrations were blocking traffic and were in violation of an emergency decree to halt the spread of Covid-19.