Police admit ‘too few’ officers to control Kiak Kai intersection clashes

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Police admitted on Wednesday there were not enough officers to control clashes between pro-democracy and royalist protesters on Tuesday afternoon at Bangkok’s Kiak Kai intersection. The admission followed public criticism that despite a massive police presence including water cannon trucks, officers had abandoned the scene when protesters clashed.

At least 55 people were injured during yesterday’s demonstrations, six with gunshot wounds.

Police said they will deploy in force at Ratchaprasong Intersection today, where pro-democracy protestors are scheduled to hold a rally from 4pm.

They advised motorists to avoid Ratchadamnoen, Ploenchit and Rama I roads, which lead to the intersection. Alternative routes include Rajprarop, Phetchaburi, Phya Thai, Rama IV, Henri Dunant, Sarasin, Silom, Sathorn, Wireless and Sukhumvit roads.

Protesters will be allowed to exercise their rights but any who violate the law would be arrested and charged, said Royal Thai Police spokesman Yingyot Thepjamnong. The Police General Hospital was on alert to receive any casualties from the demonstration, he said.

He insisted that police had not violated Thai law or international standards by firing tear gas and tear gas-laced water cannon at protesters on Tuesday. But he admitted there were too few police to handle the situation at Kiak Kai Intersection, adding that commanders had deployed their forces in various areas around Parliament.

Bullet shells found at the scene and pictured in social media posts had not yet been sent as evidence to police, he said.