Further updated: A violent interlude III

16 08 2021

More on political protest.

Thai Enquirer has a series of photos and videos of the weekend’s protests. Thai PBS reports:

Young hard core anti-establishment protesters, many of them vocational students, clashed with crowd control police at Bangkok’s Din Daeng intersection again this evening (Sunday), as they tried to breach a wall of shipping containers and a police cordon blocking access to the out-bound side of Vibhavadi Rangsit highway.

These protesters did not join the three “car mob” convoys, organized by former red-shirt leader Nattawut Saikuar, Sombat Boonngarm-anong and the “Talu Fah” group, which were separately heading for the Ratchaprasong intersection, the Democracy Monument and Lat Phrao intersection, after travelling through the streets of Bangkok and Thonburi.

The young protesters gathered at Din Daeng intersection during the afternoon and, at about 5.30pm, tried to remove one of the shipping containers, in order to march toward Prime Minister Prayut Chan-op-cha’s residence inside the nearby barracks of the First Infantry Regiment of the Royal Guards.

Crowd control police responded, starting with teargas and followed by rubber bullets and high-powered water cannons. The protesters reportedly fought back with “ping pong” bombs, flares, giant firecrackers, bricks and sling shots.

We are reminded that it was only a few days ago that the media was calling for less police violence. Chairith Yonpiam, a news editor at the Bangkok Post, suggests that the “state’s heavy-handed approach suggests the authorities are confident that the anti-government movement has lost substantial public support.” He goes on to say that protesters  risk losing support if violence continues. Clearly, though, the state is violent. Across the globe, resurgent authoritarians have learned that they can easily out-wait and defeat peaceful protesters. Where does this leave protesters?

Update 1: Pravit Rojanaphruk posted today on Facebook, with some important observations:

Three brief observations about the young protesters clasing with police over the past two weeks.

1) They are mostly working class teenagers (a number of them have small motorcycles making them very mobile when confronting police), their families are among the most affected by the economic crisis due to COVID-19 mismanagement. They are not middle-class intellectuals or students from Chulalongkorn or Thammasat Universities like those leading the call for monarchy-reform.

2) They don’t take order from middle-class protest leaders and arevmore that ready to use the calls for prostests by whichever anti-government groups to assemble and continue the protest onward and further by confronting with riot police long after the protest organisers have called it a day.

3) They have their own way of expressing themselves and it is through the willingness to violently confront riot police with slingshots, fireworks, rocks, bricks, water bottles, wooden and metal sticks and burn symbols of police that they manifest themselves. Middle-class’ theory of nonviolence does not apply to them and is not attractive. What’s attractive for them is to be together in state of ‘communitas’, anthropologically speaking where they feel empowered and express their collective anger about their bleaked future prospect in Thai society as they are close to the bottom of the social echelon with little or no light at the end of the tunnel.

Meanwhile, The Standard had some breathtaking photos, We include some below:

Update 2: A reader sent us links to what are said to be recent protest videos, focused on police aggression, here and here.


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