In Pictures: Thai police fire tear gas at pro-democracy rally

USA & World

In Pictures: Thai police fire tear gas at pro-democracy rally

Police in Thailand’s capital, Bangkok, used water cannon and tear gas on pro-democracy protesters trying to reach Parliament, where legislators were debating possible changes to the military-scripted constitution.

Student-led rallies have rocked Thailand since July, demanding the removal of Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, who first took power in a 2014 coup, and reform of the constitution. Some in the movement have also called for reforms to the monarchy, a once-taboo subject, sending shockwaves through the Thai establishment.

On Tuesday afternoon, several thousand democracy activists took to the streets around the parliament building, where riot police had blocked roads with barriers and barbed wire.

Police fired water cannon at protesters trying to dismantle a barricade, and used water laced with irritant, sending demonstrators scrambling to wash their eyes.

Some sheltered behind giant inflatable rubber ducks which protesters had planned to float along the river behind the building.

Before the anti-government protesters reached parliament, hundreds of royalists dressed in yellow, the colour representing the monarchy, gathered there to urge legislators not to make changes to the constitution.

At least 18 people were reported wounded.

As night fell, the pro-democracy demonstrators and police were locked in a tense standoff at the main gates of the parliament building.