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Local residents affected by tear gas

Residents, including children, living near the site where police fired tear gas at anti-government demonstrators trying to interrupt candidacy registration have been badly affected by the gas.

Police started firing tear gas at about 7.20am yesterday after protesters led by the Students and People Network for Thailand's Reform cut through the padlock of Gate 2 at the Bangkok Youth Centre (Thai-Japan) and tried to storm the compound on Vibhavadi-Rangsit Road.

After the gate was opened, they encountered a police truck blocking their way. Police fired several rounds of tear gas at the protesters, who grabbed some canisters and hurled them back into the compound.

Some protesters were hit by rubber bullets.

Residents of the nearby Din Daeng apartments were forced to close their windows and use electric fans to blow tear gas out of their rooms.

Arisa Makkui said her six-month-old daughter was affected by the gas. The girl woke in fright and started crying when the first round of tear gas was fired at the protesters.

"Police should stop firing tear gas, because there are small children and elderly people living in this community," Arisa said.

Resident Somsri Temtung said her three-month-old baby and four-year-old daughter were also affected by the chemicals. She used an electric fan to blow the smoke out of the room.

She said she wanted to see the fighting end, because residents are suffering. If protesters did not incite police, they wouldn't use tear gas and residents would be spared, she said.

Neung Romrat said she had to take care of her paralysed aunt and could not leave her apartment at all.


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