Thai demonstrators clash with police at Grand Palace

BANGKOK (AFP) – Thai police used water cannon and rubber bullets outside Bangkok’s Grand Palace yesterday, after demonstrators broke through a barricade of shipping containers to demand reforms to the kingdom’s unassailable monarchy.

It was the latest night of unrest since Thailand’s pro-democracy movement kicked off in July, calling for an overhaul of Premier Prayut Chan-O-Cha’s administration and a rewrite of a military-scripted constitution.

Riot police stand in formation with their shields as they disperse pro-democracy protesters during an anti-government demonstration in Bangkok on March 20, 2021. AFP

But their most controversial demands have been for reforms to the monarchy, including the abolition of draconian royal defamation laws.

A wall of cargo containers, two containers tall, had been erected in Sanam Luang, a historic field in front of the palace, to keep protesters away but, just an hour into the rally, they used ropes to yank some of the top-row boxes down, allowing a small opening.

Once protesters were able to get through, they threw Molotov cocktails at dozens of police.