Cops to probe assault on journalists at Apec protest

Cops to probe assault on journalists at Apec protest

Protesters confront riot police at a demonstration near Democracy Monument on Friday, as the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit is held in Bangkok. (Thai news Pix/AFP photo)
Protesters confront riot police at a demonstration near Democracy Monument on Friday, as the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit is held in Bangkok. (Thai news Pix/AFP photo)

The Royal Thai Police (RTP) will launch an investigation into the assault of two journalists injured in the clash between riot police and anti-government protesters during the Apec Summit last week, said national police chief Damrongsak Kittiprapas.

The journalists, who are employed by Reuters and The Matter, were injured while following anti-government protesters taking part in the "Citizens Stop Apec 2022" protest as they moved from the designated protest site at Lan Khon Muang, in front of City Hall, to the Queen Sirikit National Convention Center, where the gathering was held on Friday and Saturday.  

As the demonstrators reached Dinso Road, a clash broke out between protesters and riot police, resulting in injuries.

According to Pol Gen Damrongsak, the RTP is reviewing photos and videos of the assault circulating across social media, and promises the investigation will be carried out in a transparent manner. 

If officers are found to have used excessive force in responding to the protesters, they will be punished accordingly, he said.

As it isn't always easy to protect journalists on duty, a committee will be established to improve the coordination between the press and the police during protests, he said, before urging reporters to wear an arm band while on duty to help officers identify them. 

He singled out citizen reporters with their own news channels on YouTube, saying they are not legally considered members of the press.

Pol Gen Damrongsak also said the protesters who gathered outside permitted areas during the Apec Summit will be prosecuted. 

Rangsiman Rome, a list MP from the Move Forward Party, condemned what he called the government's brutal treatment of protesters and reporters. 

He demanded the wrongdoers be brought to justice, charges against protesters scrapped and Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha apologise over the injuries caused. 

Bangkok Governor Chadchart Sittipunt said the injuries from the clash were regrettable, but defended his decision to designate Lan Khon Muang as a protest site, saying it helped ensure demonstrators' safety.


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