Hard-core anti-establishment protesters fought street battles with the police, throwing their “ping pong” bombs, bricks and other hard objects, in response to the police use of teargas, water cannons and rubber bullets at Din Daeng intersection in Bangkok, which was the scene of similar clashes during a protest organised by the Free Youth movement on Saturday.
A number of protesters refused to disperse after leaders of the “United Front for Thammasat and Demonstration” group, which organized the protest today (Tuesday), announced an end to their rally at about 5.20pm and told all the protesters to go home immediately.
As police advanced in formation, to break up the protest, they were showered with various types of missiles, triggering another round of street battles, during which a police kiosk at Din Daeng intersection was set blaze, which was quickly extinguished by the police.
Deputy Spokesman for the Royal Thai Police Pol Col Krisana Pattanacharoen told an impromptu news conference this evening there were two groups of protesters, one of which just wanted to protest against the government, while the second group were intent upon inciting unrest.
He said that additional police have been deployed to Din Daeng intersection to prevent the situation getting out of control.
He insisted that the police had done everything within international rules of engagement when keeping peace and order, admitting that, on several occasions, the police were provoked by the protesters.
At least six police officers were wounded in the clash, according to the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration’s Erawan Emergency Medical Service Center. Some were reportedly hit in the legs by explosives and shots.
At about 7.30pm, it was reported hat some protesters torched another police kiosk near the Victory Monument.
At around 9.15pm, both sides began retreating from the Din Daeng Intersection.