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Thai protesters throw paint, spray water at police headquarters


Leaders of the months-long protest movement calling for reforms have promised to continue taking to the streets.

Anti-government demonstrators in Thailand’s capital have sprayed water at the police headquarters and splashed its sign outside with paint, a day after police used tear gas and water cannon on protesters.

The kingdom has been rocked by months of student-led protests demanding changes to the military-scripted constitution and the removal of Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, who first took power in a 2014 coup. Some in the movement have also called for reforms to the untouchable monarchy, a once-taboo subject, sending shockwaves through the Thai establishment.

Thousands of people on Wednesday packed the Ratchaprasong intersection in the heart of Bangkok’s shopping and commercial district, after leaders promised more demonstrations.

After daubing anti-royal slogans on walls and the ground they marched on the heavily-defended national police headquarters – led by a clown and a parade of giant inflatable rubber ducks. They were accompanied by a Buddhist monk giving the three-fingered salute borrowed from the “Hunger Games” movies that has become emblematic of the youth-led protest movement.

A demonstrator shows the three-fingered salute during a rally in Bangkok, Thailand, November 18, 2020 [Soe Zeya Tun/Reuters]

“Slaves of tyranny,” the protesters chanted outside the building in central Bangkok. Many had come equipped with helmets, goggles and gas masks to protect themselves against the police action.

Police were barricaded inside and they made no immediate attempt to stop the demonstration.

Wednesday’s protest came a day after the most violent confrontations since the democracy movement began in July, as police fired tear gas and irritant-laced water cannon on protesters trying to reach Parliament, where legislators began debating possible changes to the constitution.

Pro-democracy activists also clashed with royalists who had taken to the streets, too.

More than 50 people were injured on Tuesday, six of them with gunshot wounds, according to medical officials, though it is not clear who was responsible for the shooting.

Al Jazeera’s Scott Heidler, reporting from Bangkok, said Wednesday’s protests were largely peaceful.

“Today there is much more of a celebratory mood,” he said.

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