Police in Bangkok deployed water cannon and tear gas in efforts to disperse protesters gathered outside The Parliament House in Dusit district on Tuesday, November 17. Media sources indicate that at around 14:30 (local time), a group of demonstrators reached the line of concrete barriers and razor wire placed near Bang Krabue intersection in front of parliament. The protesters reportedly ignored warnings from the police and attempted to cross the barricade, throwing smoke bombs and paint towards riot police. Police responded firing four rounds from water cannon; the first two rounds consisted of water, the next two included tear gas solution as well.
Rally leaders reportedly announced plans to stay in the vicinity of parliament overnight while MPs vote 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.
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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