Breaking: Thai police use water cannon against protest outside parliament
Riot police in Thailand have used water cannon to disperse protesters trying to cut their way through razor wire hurdles outside the parliament in Bangkok as legislators debated a possible revision of the constitution.
Police forces set up barricades outside the parliament building on Tuesday after hundreds of royalists earlier staged a demonstrations to call on lawmakers not to amend the constitution.
However, anti-government protesters have in recent months been demanding changes to the constitution drawn up by Thailand’s former military junta and Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, as well as reforms to limit the powers of the monarchy.
Live television images showed police firing water cannon against an advance guard of anti-government protesters who arrived with helmets and masks as they attempted to remove the coils of wire and tossed back colored smoke bombs at police officers.
“Dictator’s lackeys!” the Free Youth protest group said in a Twitter post that came with photos of the helmeted riot police forces using the water cannon.
Thousands of people last protested in Bangkok on Saturday, continuing months of anti-government demonstrations that have also demanded reforms of Thailand’s powerful monarchy.
Police had banned protest rallies within 50 meters of the area, but hundreds of protesters still assembled nearby.
The development came as lawmakers were discussing several suggestions for amending the constitution, some of which would exclude the possibility of changes to the way King Maha Vajiralongkorn’s monarchy operates.
The lawmakers also debated the role of the Senate, which was entirely selected by Prayuth’s former junta and helped ensure that he held onto power with a parliamentary majority after a disputed election last year. Prayuth, however, insists that the vote was fair.