At least three protesters have been injured in what was the third such rally against Prime Minister Prayuth’s poor handling of the pandemic.

Thai protesters want the government to resign and institute broader democratic reforms.
Thai protesters want the government to resign and institute broader democratic reforms. (AP)

Police in Thailand's capital have fired rubber bullets and tear gas to stop hundreds of protesters who were attempting to march to the prime minister's residence to demand he resign over his handling of the country's coronavirus crisis.

Three protesters were injured in the latest protest on Friday.

It was the third anti-government protest in Bangkok this week blocked by police with tear gas and rubber bullets. 

Hundreds of protesters gathered at Bangkok's Victory Monument, where they burned a large pile of spoiled fruit to symbolise the economic costs of what they called the government's failure to properly control the outbreak.

READ MORE: Thai police clash with anti-government protesters in Bangkok

Thailand reported a record 23,418 new COVID-19 cases on Friday. Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-o-cha's government has been heavily criticised for failing to procure timely and adequate vaccines.

Deputy National Police spokesman Kissana Phathanacharoen said protesters targeted officers with ping pong bombs, slingshots, bricks, and firecrackers.

Call for resignation

Although the demonstrations have focused on the Covid-19 crisis, they are part of a wider push for sweeping political change. 

They want Prayuth’s resignation, a new constitution and — most contentious of all — fundamental reform of the powerful but opaque monarchy. 

READ MORE: Thailand denies bail to three prominent protest leaders

The rallies earlier fell away due to legal action by the authorities, infighting among protest groups and the coronavirus resurgence. 

But resumed recently as organisers capitalized on growing public discontent over the state of the country.

Last year a youth-led pro-democracy protest movement began in Thailand that at its peak drew tens of thousands of people to rallies demanding the resignation of Prayut, the former army chief who came to power in a 2014 coup.

But the movement lost momentum earlier this year as Covid-19 cases surged and its leaders were detained.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies