Police are threatening legal action against demonstrators during the COVID-19 pandemic, including the “car mob” rally seeking the ouster of Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha on Sunday.
Pol Maj Gen Piya Tawichai, deputy commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Bureau, said the recent protests were illegal and those who participated would be prosecuted.
Five protest groups held demonstrations yesterday, which were announced on social media in advance, Pol Maj Gen Tawichai said.
They comprised the United Front of Thammasat and Demonstration group, which held a rally at the Democracy Monument and was led by Parit Chiwarak; a group which was headed by Nattawut Saikuar, a former key member of the red-shirt United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship and held at the Ratchaprasong intersection before proceeding to Vibhavadi Rangsit Road.
There was also a car mob rally which was led by red-shirt activist Sombat Boonngam-anong and held on Vibhavadi Rangsit Road. The others were the Thai Mai Thon (“Thais won’t tolerate it”) which also organised a car mob rally on Ram Intra Road and later moved to join the car mob on Vibhavadi Rangsit Road, and the Nonthaburi Network which gathered at Phra Nang Klao Bridge MRT Station and then joined the car mob led by Mr Boonngam-anong.
At about 5.30pm, riot police squads tried to contain the car mob group which gathered near the Veterans General Hospital on Vibhavadi Rangsit Road. The protesters threw objects and firecrackers at police who fired rubber bullets, a water cannon and tear gas at the protesters.
The car mob rally ended and protesters dispersed last night.
Pol Maj Gen Boonngam-anong said that Bangkok has been designated as a maximum and strict control zone, with a ban on gatherings of five people and other activities that risk spreading the virus.
Violators are liable to penalties under the emergency decree and the Disease Control Act, he said, adding that those who joined the car mob rally and honked horns or obstructed traffic will also face charges.
Meanwhile, Deputy Pheu Thai Party leader Yutthapong Charasathian said the opposition will table a no-confidence motion against the government to parliament on 12th August, with Gen Chan-o-cha and Deputy Prime Minister and Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul among the targets for censure.
The topics for censure will include vaccine management, lockdown measures, and soaring daily COVID-19 cases, Mr Charasathian said.
He said the opposition parties will censure Gen Chan-o-cha for his role as the director of the Centre for COVID-19 Situation Administration and also as the defence minister.