Anti-government protesters, police clash in Thailand despite expanded COVID lockdown



Thai police fired a water cannon, tear gas and rubber bullets on Sunday to stop protesters from marching on the office of Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha calling for him to resign.

More than 1,000 protesters took part in the demonstration despite an expanded coronavirus lockdown. Demonstrators blame the prime minister and his government for mismanaging the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The government has been poor at managing the situation and if we don’t do anything there will be no change,” one protester, Kanyaporn Veeratat, 34, told Reuters.

The use of force by the police came after some protesters tried to dismantle barbed wire and metal barricades set up by the authorities to block roads from Democracy Monument to Government House where the prime minister works. The protest marked one year since the first of a wave of large-scale street protests led by youth groups that attracted hundreds of thousands of people across the country.

Thailand reported 11,397 infections and 101 deaths on Sunday, bringing the cumulative total to 403,386 cases and 3,341 fatalities, the vast majority from an outbreak since early April that is being fuelled by the highly transmissible Alpha and Delta COVID-19 variants.

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