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Thai democracy protest turns violent

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A new faction of Thailand’s pro-democracy movement have staged a protest, linking their cause with that of demonstrators in Myanmar battling the country’s military coup.

The group tried but failed to reach Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha’s house, which is on an army base in Bangkok.

Shipping containers were placed to block them, while police using water cannons, rubber bullets and tear gas also barred the way.

Erawan Emergency Services said 16 people were injured in the protest on Sunday.

The demonstrators abandoned their plan several hours later after taking an online vote of their supporters.

Their action was linked to the informal Milk Tea Alliance of pro-democracy activists from Hong Kong, Taiwan, Thailand and Myanmar, which called for efforts online and in real life in support of the protests in Myanmar.

In Myanmar on Sunday, a crackdown on protesters by security forces left at least 18 people dead, according to the UN Human Rights Office.

Prime Minister Prayuth was targeted in part because he met with the new foreign minister appointed by Myanmar’s junta in Bangkok on Wednesday.

The protest in Bangkok was the first to be led by a new group calling itself REDEM, short for Restart Democracy, whose self-proclaimed goals are to build democratic socialism and minimise political and economic inequality.

REDEM was launched last week as an offshoot of Free Youth, one of the main groups that began rallying against the Thai government last year.

Last year’s original protest campaigned for Prayuth and his government to step down, the constitution to be amended to make it more democratic and the monarchy reformed to make it more accountable.

The demand about the monarchy is the most controversial, because the institution has been widely considered an untouchable, bedrock element of Thai nationalism.

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