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story.lead_photo.caption Pro-democracy demonstrators regroup Friday after police cleared their protest venue in Bangkok. More photos at arkansasonline.com/1017protests/. (AP/Gemunu Amarasinghe)

BANGKOK -- Riot police in Thailand cracked down on thousands of student-led protesters who rallied Friday in the capital in defiance of a strict state of emergency, while the prime minister rejected calls for his resignation.

The protesters gathered in torrential monsoon rains to push their demands, including that Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha leave office, the constitution be amended and the nation's monarchy undergo change.

It was the second day they defied an order not to gather, imposed after some demonstrators heckled a royal motorcade, an unprecedented development in Thailand, where the monarchy is normally held in reverence.

Police used water cannons and charged at the crowd, scattering protesters, onlookers and reporters. Journalists who were hit by the water said it caused a stinging sensation and was dyed blue, to mark protesters for possible later arrest.

Gallery: Thailand protests

[Gallery not loading above? Click here for more photos » arkansasonline.com/1017protests/]

Police appeared to have assumed control of the rally site, and much of the crowd retreated down a street to nearby Chulalongkorn University, where some organizers advised them to shelter if they were not going directly home.

Police said several protesters and police were injured during the pushing and shoving and seven people were arrested. An opposition lawmaker, Pita Limjaroenrat, put the number of arrests at 100.

Police had earlier closed roads and put up barricades around a major Bangkok intersection where some 10,000 protesters defied the new decree Thursday. Police in riot gear secured the area, while malls in the normally busy shopping district closed early. Nearby mass transit stations were closed to stop crowds of protesters from getting near the area.

The student protesters, however, simply moved down the street to another large intersection.

Prayuth's government declared a strict new state of emergency for the capital on Thursday, a day after the heckling of the motorcade.

The state of emergency outlaws public gatherings of more than five people and bans the dissemination of news that is deemed to threaten national security. It also gives authorities broad powers, including detaining people at length without charge.

A number of protest leaders have already been rounded up since the decree went into effect. On Friday, another two activists were arrested under a law covering violence against the queen for their alleged part in the heckling of the motorcade. They could face up to life in prison if convicted.

The protest movement was launched in March by university students and its original core demands were new elections, changes in the constitution to make it more democratic, and an end to intimidation of activists.

The protesters maintain that Prayuth, who as army commander led a 2014 coup that toppled an elected government, was returned to power unfairly in last year's general election because laws had been changed to favor a pro-military party.

But the movement took a stunning turn in August, when students at a rally aired unprecedented criticism of the monarchy and issued calls for its reform. Using direct language normally expressed in whispers if at all, the speakers criticized the king's wealth, his influence and that he spends much of his time outside the country.

Thailand's royal family has long been considered sacrosanct and a pillar of Thai identity. King Maha Vajiralongkorn and other key member of the royal family are protected by a lese majeste law that has regularly been used to silence critics who risk up to 15 years in prison if deemed to have insulted the institution.

Conservative royalist Thais accuse the protest movement of seeking to end the monarchy, an allegation its leaders deny.

Prayuth said Friday that he had no plans to resign as he had done nothing wrong. He said his government hopes it can drop the state of emergency ahead of its normal 30-day duration "if the situation improves quickly."

Water cannons rain down Friday in Bangkok as police move in to disperse student-led protesters who have been calling for Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha’s resignation in defiance of a strict state of emergency. Prayuth, a former army commander, has refused to step down. More photos at arkansasonline.com/1017protests/.
(AP/Gemunu Amarasinghe)
Water cannons rain down Friday in Bangkok as police move in to disperse student-led protesters who have been calling for Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha’s resignation in defiance of a strict state of emergency. Prayuth, a former army commander, has refused to step down. More photos at arkansasonline.com/1017protests/. (AP/Gemunu Amarasinghe)
Pro democracy demonstrators face water canons as police try to disperse them from their protest venue in Bangkok, Thailand, Friday, Oct. 16, 2020. Thailand prime minister has rejected calls for his resignation as his government steps up efforts to stop student-led protesters from rallying in the capital for a second day in defiance of a strict state of emergency. (AP Photo/Gemunu Amarasinghe)
Pro democracy demonstrators face water canons as police try to disperse them from their protest venue in Bangkok, Thailand, Friday, Oct. 16, 2020. Thailand prime minister has rejected calls for his resignation as his government steps up efforts to stop student-led protesters from rallying in the capital for a second day in defiance of a strict state of emergency. (AP Photo/Gemunu Amarasinghe)
Police use water canons to try and disperse demonstrators from their protest venue in Bangkok, Thailand, Friday, Oct. 16, 2020. Thailand prime minister has rejected calls for his resignation as his government steps up efforts to stop student-led protesters from rallying in the capital for a second day in defiance of a strict state of emergency.  (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)
Police use water canons to try and disperse demonstrators from their protest venue in Bangkok, Thailand, Friday, Oct. 16, 2020. Thailand prime minister has rejected calls for his resignation as his government steps up efforts to stop student-led protesters from rallying in the capital for a second day in defiance of a strict state of emergency. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)
A vehicle with members of the Thai royal family onboard passes through a road where anti-government protesters gathered outside the Government House on Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2020 in Bangkok, Thailand. (AP Photo)
A vehicle with members of the Thai royal family onboard passes through a road where anti-government protesters gathered outside the Government House on Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2020 in Bangkok, Thailand. (AP Photo)
Thai police with riot shields take position in a business district where anti-government protesters sayid they will meet in Bangkok, Thailand, Friday, Oct. 16, 2020. Police announced Friday they would block roads leading to Bangkok’s Rajprasong intersection, where Thursday's rally was held, after protesters called on supporters to mass again. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)
Thai police with riot shields take position in a business district where anti-government protesters sayid they will meet in Bangkok, Thailand, Friday, Oct. 16, 2020. Police announced Friday they would block roads leading to Bangkok’s Rajprasong intersection, where Thursday's rally was held, after protesters called on supporters to mass again. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)
Pro democracy demonstrators face water canons as police try to clear the protest venue in Bangkok, Thailand, Friday, Oct. 16, 2020. Thailand prime minister has rejected calls for his resignation as his government steps up efforts to stop student-led protesters from rallying in the capital for a second day in defiance of a strict state of emergency. (AP Photo/Gemunu Amarasinghe)
Pro democracy demonstrators face water canons as police try to clear the protest venue in Bangkok, Thailand, Friday, Oct. 16, 2020. Thailand prime minister has rejected calls for his resignation as his government steps up efforts to stop student-led protesters from rallying in the capital for a second day in defiance of a strict state of emergency. (AP Photo/Gemunu Amarasinghe)
Pro democracy demonstrators face police water canons as police try to disperse them from their protest venue in Bangkok, Thailand, Friday, Oct. 16, 2020. Thailand prime minister has rejected calls for his resignation as his government steps up efforts to stop student-led protesters from rallying in the capital for a second day in defiance of a strict state of emergency. (AP Photo/Gemunu Amarasinghe)
Pro democracy demonstrators face police water canons as police try to disperse them from their protest venue in Bangkok, Thailand, Friday, Oct. 16, 2020. Thailand prime minister has rejected calls for his resignation as his government steps up efforts to stop student-led protesters from rallying in the capital for a second day in defiance of a strict state of emergency. (AP Photo/Gemunu Amarasinghe)
A pro-democracy demonstrators raises a three-finger salute, a symbol of resistance, as hundreds gather in a business district in Bangkok, Thailand, Friday, Oct. 16, 2020. Thailand’s prime minister has rejected calls for his resignation as his government steps up efforts to stop student-led protesters from rallying in the capital for a second day in defiance of a strict state of emergency. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)
A pro-democracy demonstrators raises a three-finger salute, a symbol of resistance, as hundreds gather in a business district in Bangkok, Thailand, Friday, Oct. 16, 2020. Thailand’s prime minister has rejected calls for his resignation as his government steps up efforts to stop student-led protesters from rallying in the capital for a second day in defiance of a strict state of emergency. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)
Activist Paothong Bunkueanum poses for a photo outside a police station in Bangkok, Thailand Oct. 16, 2020. The authorities in Thailand have filed the most severe charges yet in connection with ongoing pro-democracy demonstrations, charging two men, including Paothong, under an article of the law covering violence against the queen. (AP Photo/Jerry Harmer)
Activist Paothong Bunkueanum poses for a photo outside a police station in Bangkok, Thailand Oct. 16, 2020. The authorities in Thailand have filed the most severe charges yet in connection with ongoing pro-democracy demonstrations, charging two men, including Paothong, under an article of the law covering violence against the queen. (AP Photo/Jerry Harmer)
Pro democracy demonstrators face water canons as police try to clear the protest venue in Bangkok, Thailand, Friday, Oct. 16, 2020. Thailand prime minister has rejected calls for his resignation as his government steps up efforts to stop student-led protesters from rallying in the capital for a second day in defiance of a strict state of emergency. (AP Photo/Gemunu Amarasinghe)
Pro democracy demonstrators face water canons as police try to clear the protest venue in Bangkok, Thailand, Friday, Oct. 16, 2020. Thailand prime minister has rejected calls for his resignation as his government steps up efforts to stop student-led protesters from rallying in the capital for a second day in defiance of a strict state of emergency. (AP Photo/Gemunu Amarasinghe)
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