Clashes between anti-government protesters and police in Bangkok on Tuesday, November 17, resulted in at least 41 injuries. Protesters marched on Parliament where they reportedly attempted to remove concrete barriers and cut through barbed wire in the vicinity of the Bang Krabue intersection, prompting police to fire tear gas and water cannon at demonstrators. Reports suggest that clashes also broke out between protesters and a royalist counter-demonstration. Medical officials stated that at least five people have sustained gunshot wounds; however, police have denied using live ammunition and rubber bullets and are currently investigating who fired the rounds.
The protests coincided with a vote in Parliament on a proposed constitutional amendment drafted by civil group Internet Law Reform Dialogue. Parliament began discussions on the constitutional amendment on Tuesday morning and lawmakers are expected to discuss the issue for two days before voting on it. Protest groups have called for further gatherings in central Bangkok on Wednesday, November 18.
Further associated demonstrations should be anticipated near Parliament and other areas of the capital in the near term. A heightened security presence is expected in the vicinity of all demonstrations and clashes between security forces and protesters cannot be ruled out.
Public opposition has grown against Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha over government spending, the dissolution of an opposition party, and many other factors. Activists have also called for reforms to the powers of the monarchy. Protests on an increasing scale have been held in Bangkok and other locations across Thailand in recent months. Counter protests have also been held, particularly in support of the monarchy.
Those in Bangkok are advised to monitor the situation, anticipate transportation disruptions, avoid protests or demonstrations as a precaution, and adhere to all instructions issued by local authorities.
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