Journalist associations in Thailand denounce police violence

Bangkok, Mar 21 (efe-epa).- Six journalists’ associations in Thailand on Sunday denounced police violence against several reporters covering a peaceful protest for democratic reform in the country overnight in Bangkok.

The associations said that several journalists were injured as a result of the anti-riot forces, who used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse demonstrators, mostly young university students.

At least 3 local reporters were injured as a result of the police action, according to Human Rights Watch official Sunai Phasuk.

The local journalists’ associations reject released a joint statement rejecting all forms of violence and expressing concern about the situation in Thailand, and urging the security forces to respect the right of the people to demonstrate peacefully.

The Erawan emergency service reported at least 30 civilians were injured in the incident as the police charged to disperse the more than 1,000 demonstrators gathered since Saturday afternoon in the iconic center of the Thai capital.

For its part, the legal organization Thai Lawyers for Human Rights reported that the police had arrested 30 protesters, including four minors.

The authorities had erected a wall using goods containers to block the group of young people that sought to march to Grand Palace in Bangkok with letters for King Vajiralongkorn – even though he does not reside there – demanding a reform in the royal household.

Several protesters managed to breach the blockade, and after a period of tense calm, the authorities charged against the crowd.

A video on social media showed dozens of policemen beating defenseless protesters with batons and kicking them, one of whom continued getting assaulted even after losing consciousness.

The pro-democratic protests, led by students and which have generally been peaceful, began in July 2020 to demand the resignation of the Thai prime minister, a new Constitution – since the current one was written by the former military junta (2014-2019) – and reducing the power of the military.

However, a bolder demand was made the following month, when they called for reforms in the monarchy cutting down its political influence, and an amendment of the lèse majesté law, which has been criticized by the UN for being excessively strict. EFE-EPA


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