Thai democracy protesters rally despite Covid-19 warnings

BANGKOK : Hundreds of pro-democracy protesters rallied in Bangkok yesterday to call for the government's resignation, defying warnings from the authorities about the kingdom's soaring coronavirus cases.

The rally, which defied a ban on public gatherings due to the pandemic, comes as Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha's government faces public criticism over its handling of coronavirus outbreaks, a slow economic recovery and a vaccine policy that involves a company owned by King Maha Vajiralongkorn.

"Even those who were on the government's side are now calling out the government's work and criticising failed government efforts," said prominent protest leader Panupong Jadnok as he walked alongside protesters.

Meanwhile, a former soldier fired into a coronavirus field hospital yesterday, killing a 54-year-old patient after earlier shooting dead a convenience store employee, the police said.

The 23-year-old believed that the patients in the hospital in Pathum Thani near Bangkok were drug addicts, and said that he hated drug addicts, regional police chief Amphol Buarabporn said.

The field hospital was once a drug rehabilitation centre and was reorganised to treat Covid-19 patients.

Thailand has recorded more than 232,600 Covid cases and 1,775 deaths. - AFP, REUTERS