The Redem (Restart Democracy) group had gathered at 6pm at Sanam Luang to demand the release of eight pro-democracy protest leaders detained last week on charges of sedition and lese majeste. Clashes erupted as protesters pulled down a container barrier, and police used water cannon and rubber bullets to disperse the crowd.
At 8.50pm, Sanam Luang protesters retreated to Khok Wua intersection near Democracy Monument, where further clashes saw several police vehicles damaged and plant pots set on fire.
Deputy Metropolitan Police chief Pol Maj-General Piya Tawichai said a reporter was being treated at Kasemrad Hospital after he was shot in the head by a police rubber bullet during the fray.
He said police had warned reporters to clear the area before opening fire.
"The Royal Thai Police would like to apologise for the incident in which a reporter was hospitalised," said Piya.
He added that Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has ordered National Police chief Pol General Suwat Chaengyodsuk to take care of all those injured during the clash and instruct police officers to perform their duties in line with international practice.
Meanwhile, Royal Thai Police spokesman Pol General Krisana Pattanacharoen urged reporters at rallies to comply with police orders by wearing protective equipment.
He added that the Metropolitan Police Bureau may organise training to instruct reporters on the meaning of police signals during operations.
Published : March 22, 2021
By : The Nation