At least 32 people were arrested by Thai police on Saturday night after security operations to clear pro-democracy protesters at Sanam Luang plaza in Bangkok’s old town, according to a legal rights group.
According to the Thai Lawyers for Human Rights, among those arrested were seven unaccompanied minors.
At least 30 protesters were injured according to the Erawan Medical Center during clashes between the protesters and police.
Thai Enquirer reporters and eyewitnesses reported that police indiscriminately used tear gas and shotguns filled with rubber bullets in trying to remove pro-democracy protesters from the area.
The clashes continued late into the night as security officials chased protesters into Bangkok’s old town with bystanders and reporters also being shot and targeted by officers.
The protest began on Saturday evening with protesters filling the royal square to demand changes to the military-drafted constitution and to call for the release of detained pro-democracy dissidents.
The protesters were blocked off from the palace by a large container wall, installed overnight by security personnel.
The clashes began after protesters tried to remove sections of the wall to continue their march on the palace with security personnel using water cannons and eventually riot shields and batons to contain the protests.
URGENT – police have pushed through the wall gap and arrested protesters.— Thai Enquirer (@ThaiEnquirer) March 20, 2021
They are determined not to let the protesters through to the grand palace. #ม็อบ20มีนา #WhatsHappeningInThailand pic.twitter.com/gApb4E77pu
Police said on Sunday that its use of force was proportionate to the threats they received. However, rights groups have commented that the chasing down of protester and use of rubber bullets went beyond international standards and that an internal investigation should be conducted over the use of force.
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