Thailand’s Prime Minister has called for calm after angry locals hurled homemade fire bombs and torched vehicles at a police station on Thailand’s resort island of Phuket over the weekend.
The protest drew more than 100 local residents who were angered by the deaths of two young men who died in a motorcycle collision with a police car on Saturday. The protest turned violent late Saturday and lasted until order was restored early Sunday.
Police Lt. Col Amnuay Kraiwuttinan said police were chasing the motorcycle because the two men, 17 and 22 years old, were drug suspects.
The rioting occurred outside the Thalang Police Station, which is on a main road to the airport. Amnuay said protesters blocked the road from 8.m Saturday to 4am Sunday, inconveniencing tourists who were trying to reach the airport.
Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha promised Sunday that a full and fair investigation into the deaths of the two men would be held and that justice would be done.
“The government will ensure fair treatment to all sides, but at this point it will not discuss the details and it will let authorities concerned do their job,” he said.
Police say the two men broke a checkpoint and were killed after the police car that gave chase crashed into their motorbike. Police insist it was an accident and said drugs were found on the men after the crash.
Protesters demanded the police involved be arrested immediately, but later agreed to army assurances that a full investigation will be held. Phuket governor Chamroen Thipayapongthada said the inquiry would be completed within 30 days.
Additional reporting from Associated Press