Thai protesters plan “automobile mob” rally and demand the resignation of the prime minister | World information

BANGKOK (Reuters) – Thai protesters planned mass demonstrations with car convoys converging at multiple locations in Bangkok on Sunday, calling for Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha’s resignation amid mounting anger over his government’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Anti-government protests in recent weeks have sparked violent clashes after police used tear gas, rubber bullets and water cannons to disperse the protests spar-with- Police-March-PMs-Residence-2021-08-13 in front of Prayuth’s residence. Authorities say public gatherings are illegal amid the COVID-19 emergency.

Sunday’s “Automob” organizers said protests in cars would help prevent the virus from spreading and vowed to protest peacefully with a clear time frame for activities to begin and end.

“The three routes we are planning clearly avoid passing through high-security areas or sensitive places that could lead to confrontation,” said activist Nattawut Saikua, one of the organizers.

Police said the use of force was sometimes necessary to maintain public order, adding that they had met international standards on the use of tear gas, rubber bullets and water cannons.

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“We have to uphold the law and keep the peace,” Thai police chief Suwat Jangyodsuk told reporters, without indicating whether the police intend to use force.

More than 130 people have been arrested in recent protests against the government since mid-July, Suwat said.

Thailand’s youth-led anti-government protest movement appears to be regaining momentum and its support has expanded after demonstrations last year attracted hundreds of thousands of people before crackdowns by authorities.

Other political groups, including some of Prayuth’s former allies, are now joining the protests as the country struggles to tackle the worst wave of COVID-19, with many accusing the government of handling the crisis.

(Reporting by Panu Wongcha-um; Editing by William Mallard)

Copyright 2021 Thomson Reuters.

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