Cops arrest at least 35 over clash in Din Daeng
At least 35 protesters were arrested following a clash with riot police at Din Daeng intersection as anti-government protests resumed late afternoon on Sunday.
Youth protesters on motorcycles who called themselves Mob Thalugaz (mob that goes through tear gas) began gathering at the intersection, which has been the focus of rallies in the past week, at 5pm.
They threw ping-pong bombs and firecrackers as they moved towards police who formed a security perimeter around the Royal Thai Army Band Department on Vibhavadi Rangsit Road.
Police halted their advance by firing tear gas, leading to a confrontation which left the the road's outbound lanes, which lead to the Sutthisan area, impassable by motorists. To disperse the crowd, police deployed water cannons and began making arrests.
At least 35 protesters were detained and their vehicles seized on Sunday. Around 6.15pm, police were finally able to contain the rally at Din Daeng intersection and push back the protesters towards Victory Monument.
Pol Maj Gen Piya Tawichai, deputy commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Bureau (MPB), said changes to the police's tactics at the intersection yielded satisfactory results.
Police were ordered by the national police chief to adjust their tactics on Saturday to reduce the impact on nearby communities, following complaints from residents near the protest site about rubber bullets and tear gas canisters ending up on their property.
Pol Maj Gen Piya said while the police have removed all shipping containers from the outbound lanes of Vibhavadi Rangsit Road near the Din Daeng intersection and reduced direct confrontation with protesters near residential areas, more adjustments still will to be made to further reduce the impact on Din Daeng residents.
When asked if the police planned to refrain from using tear gas and rubber bullets on protesters, he said their choice of crowd control equipment is standard for such operations.
The police are also coordinating with the National Housing Authority to step up safety for Din Daeng flat residents, after suggestions were made to install nets to prevent objects thrown about from injuring tenants.
Pol Maj Gen Piya said eight police were wounded in Saturday's clash.
He also said that 13 anti-government protesters were arrested on Saturday in Nong Khaem district, where a large number of weapons, including 53 homemade bombs and catapults, were also seized.
They have been charged with violating the emergency decree and firearms laws, he said.
At least 259 people have been arrested between July and August, and more than 500 will be prosecuted for their roles in the protests.