LIVE UPDATES: Police and protesters struggle to take control of Bangkok’s Ratchaprasong Junction


Demonstrators stood against a wave of police officers who moved earlier in the afternoon to clear the area around Bangkok’s Ratchaprasong junction in a bid to disrupt a protest march and stamp out the growing anti-government movement.

Dribbling and changing positions, the ranks of the protesters swelled until 4pm had gathered momentum against the large force and were in control of the intersection, which they poured into after officers tried to clear the area. By 5 pm, several thousand had filled the streets, surrounded by police, some in riot gear, who refused to let anyone in or out despite being ordered to disperse by 6 pm. After protesters clashed with police in a failed attempt to break their line, the officers returned to create more space.

As dusk fell at 6 pm, the police did not move to implement the order as the demonstrators sang the national anthem. The adjacent Amarin Plaza and Gaysorn Plaza shopping malls closed early at 6 p.m.

More people are still pouring in, expanding the protest area beyond the police cordon on Sukhumvit Road.

The trapped protesters clash with the police as they try to get out of the contained area. a story: # 15 ตุลา ไป ราช ประสงค์ #WhatshappeninginThailand pic.twitter.com/OQMw6fCzda

– Coconuts Bangkok (CoconutsBangkok) October 15, 2020

Chants of “Death to the dictatorship!” “The people will rise” and “Come out, Prayuth, our son!” The busy intersection was washed into the cosmopolitan heart of Bangkok. “Free our friends!” Lots of callers, referring to the key leaders and protesters who were arrested this morning.

Demonstrators fill Ratchaprasong calling for General Prayuth Chan or Cha to step down.  photo: coconut
Demonstrators fill Ratchaprasong calling for General Prayuth Chan or Cha to step down. photo: coconut

Earlier, around 3 p.m., hundreds of officers forcibly closed their arm to clear the lane over the intersection where the rally was scheduled to begin at 4 p.m. A camp set up last night at Government House was cleared before dawn and a new state of emergency was imposed on the capital. Protesters and journalists alike were forced out of the Central World shopping mall, and police attempted to clear the streets around the intersection.

Get live updates via Coconuts Bangkok on Twitter

“You are violating the state of emergency!” The police said through a megaphone. “Get out!” People cried in response.

Protesters shout “Damn Braut!” In Ratchaprasong, referring to the former junta leader who is now Prime Minister, the story of Prayut Chan-o-cha: # 15 ตุลา ไป ราช ประสงค์ #WhatshappeninginThailand pic.twitter.com/ggklNxOZUM

– Coconuts Bangkok (CoconutsBangkok) October 15, 2020

Protesters resisted a heavy police presence to take control of Ratchaprasong Junction. a story: # 15 ตุลา ไป ราช ประสงค์ #WhatshappeninginThailand pic.twitter.com/rxR2q4tLc0

– Coconuts Bangkok (CoconutsBangkok) October 15, 2020

Army and police deployed in Bangkok to close protest site

Earlier, some sat on the ground or tried to resist the police, but the huge number of officers were steadily clearing the area. Soldiers were spotted around but not seen dealing with the protesters.

Gatherings of more than four people are now banned in the capital, and police said they will arrest violators.

As of 5 pm, the police had completely cordoned off the protesters in the street.  Some are now brandishing helmets and shields and preventing anyone from leaving.
As of 5 pm, the police had completely cordoned off the protesters in the street. Some are now brandishing helmets and shields and preventing anyone from leaving.
Security forces closed the gate at BTS Chit Lom in Bangkok just before 3pm on Thursday.  photo: coconut
Security forces closed the gate at BTS Chit Lom in Bangkok just before 3pm on Thursday. photo: coconut

This is an evolving story and may be updated without notice.

Reporting by Chayanit Itthipongmaetee and Thitima Sukontaros, written by Todd Ruiz

Live, happening now: # 15 ตุลา ไป ราช ประสงค์ #WhatshappeninginThailand a story: pic.twitter.com/018vj1DgoR

– Coconuts Bangkok (CoconutsBangkok) October 15, 2020

Police forcibly removed the protesters from the driveway above Ratchaprasong Intersection. More assembly below. a story: # 15 ตุลา ไป ราช ประสงค์ #WhatshappeninginThailand pic.twitter.com/cEB4JuOYyU

– Coconuts Bangkok (CoconutsBangkok) October 15, 2020





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