What to know about the latest political violence in Thailand

Authorities have said they have arrested seven people in connection with a violent protest in Bangkok on Tuesday.

Thailand’s state news agency, Thaichai, said in a statement that the people had been charged with rioting and violating national security laws.

The protesters, it said, were trying to overthrow the government.

A government official told Reuters the protesters were throwing stones at security forces and setting fire to the headquarters of the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO), which is chaired by the prime minister.

The violence erupted in Bangkok’s central Thongchai district when thousands of people marched on government headquarters to demand the resignation of President Prayuth Chan-ocha, who was ousted from power last month.

Thais, who traditionally celebrate their national holiday in November, have been grappling with the political turmoil since a popular coup in 2014 toppled Yingluck Shinawatra, a former Prime Minister who was elected in May to lead a political transition after she was jailed for graft.

In Thailand, protests have been met with heavy police use of tear gas, rubber bullets and other weapons.

In a separate development, the country’s police chief has resigned amid growing allegations of misconduct.

Police Chief Boonchorn Chaiyaphanaprabatul said in televised comments on Monday he was stepping down due to health reasons.

He said he was taking leave of absence for “personal reasons”, adding he was resigning because he had “come to the conclusion that the situation is no longer stable”.

Chaiyaprabathul, who has been at the centre of the political storm since his appointment last year, has been under investigation since June after allegations he accepted a bribe to have a police helicopter shoot down a plane carrying protesters on a protest march.

The latest developments come as Thailand’s military prepares to send troops to protect the country against an increasing threat from China.

The military said on Monday that a total of 1,000 troops would be deployed to the Thai capital of Bangkok to help with security measures, including “anti-terrorism and anti-terrorism-related operations”.

The deployment comes as Beijing is also reportedly preparing to send thousands of troops to Thailand, which would make it the third largest military base in the world after the US and Japan.

Thai President Prayauth Chan Yingluck has faced growing international pressure to resign amid the political chaos.


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