Thailand prime minister sprays journalists with hand sanitiser as they try to grill him

Thailand’s prime minister is known for his unpredictable behaviour with media

Mayank Aggarwal
Tuesday 09 March 2021 19:22
Thailand's prime minister sprays journalists with hand sanitiser

Thailand‘s prime minister was filmed on Tuesday spraying hand sanitiser at journalists who were grilling him during his weekly press conference in Bangkok.

The prime minister of the southeast Asian nation, Prayut Chan-o-cha, appeared to become irritated at a line of questioning about a possible Cabinet reshuffle, and told reporters to mind their own business.

According to videos of the incident, he then left the podium where he had been speaking and picked up a bottle of sanitiser as he did so, before calmly walking towards the front row of journalists and spraying it on them.

The journalists continued to record the prime minister regardless, who was accompanied by several officials.

It is not the first time that the former military general has raised eyebrows for his unpredictable or quick-tempered behaviour with the media.

In one past incident, he held the ear of a reporter while addressing other journalists, and in another flung a banana peel at camera operators. In 2018, he had set up a life-size cutout of himself and said “ask this guy” any questions before walking away.

Thailand has witnessed pro-democracy and anti-monarchy protests led mainly by younger generations since last year. The protesters accused the former military general, who overthrew a democratically-elected government in 2014, of manipulating 2019 elections to remain in power.

The main demands of protesters in Thailand include the removal of the prime minister, a reduction in the powers of King Maha Vajiralongkorn, and a new constitution that has a proper emphasis on civil rights and freedoms.

But the prime minister has refused to yield ground. Instead, the authorities in Thailand have arrested several pro-democracy activists on various charges including insulting the monarchy.

On Monday, prosecutors in Thailand charged 18 pro-democracy activists with sedition while lodging additional charges of insulting the monarchy against three of them.

Additional reporting by agencies

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