Thousands protest violence-marred rally at Thai Parliament

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Pro-democracy protesters splash colored paint on the police headquarters sign in Bangkok, Thailand, Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2020. Police in Thailand's capital braced for possible trouble Wednesday, a day after a protest outside Parliament by pro-democracy demonstrators was marred by violence that left dozens of people injured. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)

BANGKOK – Thousands of pro-democracy demonstrators rallied in central Bangkok on Wednesday, a day after a chaotic protest outside Parliament was marred by violence that left 55 people injured, including as many as six with gunshot wounds.

Tuesday’s protest had been held to encourage lawmakers to approve a motion that would lead to substantive constitutional change, including measures to limit the power of the monarchy.

The protesters gathered peacefully Wednesday at a major intersection and then moved as night fell outside the nearby national police headquarters, its gates protected by razor wire and riot police.

They said they wanted to express anger at what they regarded as disproportionate use of force the previous day by police who employed chemical-laced water cannons and tear gas against them.

Much of the water shot at them was dyed blue, and in an act of repayment, Wednesday's protesters tossed blue and yellow paint on the “Royal Thai Police” sign outside the police headquarters as the crowd cheered. The sign was also adorned with graffiti.

Before the demonstration broke up, protest leaders announced a large protest on Nov. 25 at the offices of the Crown Property Bureau, which manages the vast holdings of Thailand's royal palace. Its holdings, controlled by King Maha Vajiralongkorn, are estimated to be worth more than $40 billion.

Tuesday's confrontations outside Parliament were the worst violence during months of actions by the student-led protest movement, which has staged increasingly determined rallies of thousands of people around the country.

Sucharn Thoumrungroje, a 20-year-old engineering student, said he decided to attend Wednesday’s rally after learning of what happened at Parliament the day before.