Outnumbered by police, anti-government protesters, who had converged at the Democracy Monument before 1pm for aplanned march to the Grand Palace and the Government House,were forced to change target locations.
Armed with protective shields, crowd control police advanced in formation toward the protesters gathering around the monument,to seize the ground before the arrival of more. Minor scuffles were reported.
The police managed to take full control of the Democracy Monument and its surround area.
The police’s pre-emptive move forced the Free Youth movement, one of the organisers of the protests, to pull back and head towards Government House, via Pan Fah Bridge and Nang Lerng, only to find access blocked at the intersection byshipping containers.
Protesters then headed toward the Victory Monument before heading to the First Infantry Regiment barracks, where Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has his residence.
Meanwhile, Parit “Penguin” Chiwarak, a leader of the Ratsadon group, said in his Facebook post late Friday night that he might not be able to join the protests today, because police were already waiting in front of his house with a warrant for his arrest.
Parit was not seen at the protest site today, nor was Anon Nampa, another key Ratsadon group leader.
On Wednesday, the Thanyaburi provincial court, in Pathum Thani province, issued a warrant for the arrest of Parit and another protest leader, Promsorn Veerathammacharee, for allegedly leading a protest, in front of Region 1 Border Patrol Police Command, to demand the release of JatupatBoonpatthararaksa, aka Pai Daodin, and 30 other members of the “Talu Fah” group, who were arrested on August 2nd.
The following day however, the Corruption and Misconduct Cases Court ordered all 31 of them released on a bail of 100,000 bath each, on the grounds that the penalties for their alleged offences are not heavy and that there is no reason to believe they will attempt to leave the country.