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Police defend media arrest

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A police spokesman attempted to make peace with the press on Tuesday after protests that riot police arrested two photographers during tear gas attacks near the Pitak Siam protest last Saturday. 

National police spokesman Piya Uthayo denied saying the two cameramen were detained "because they were shooting a violent incident and doing so violated people's rights".Media groups on Saturday claimed that Pol Maj Gen Piya defended the arrests with such a statement, but the spokesman strongly denied he ever had said such a thing.The statement by media groups said police used excessive force and threatened the working freedom of media members who were carrying out their duties during a clash Saturday morning between riot police and protesters, during which tear gas was fired and thrown at Makkhawan bridge.The statement called on all parties, especially police officers, to respect the rights of members of the press. Pol Maj Gen Piya denied that the two men were arrested because of their work, calling this a "misunderstanding".He submitted his letter clarifying the allegation to the media groups, along with a CD containing audio files of his interview and footage of the major events in the protest."I want to again assert that police respect [the rights of] every member of the press," said Pol Maj Gen Piya. "I reassure you that we take responsibility for all the remarks given in all statements and they are based on facts and legal provisions."     Police arrested 138 protesters including ASTV Manager photographer Santi Tehpia and Thai PBS cameraman Pattanasak Woradet during the morning clash. All but one...

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