'Ja New' assault spurs outcry

'Ja New' assault spurs outcry

Sirawith Seritiwat is seen seriously hurt after being beaten by thugs. (Photo from Romsai Rescue Foundation)
Sirawith Seritiwat is seen seriously hurt after being beaten by thugs. (Photo from Romsai Rescue Foundation)

The government and police are being urged to provide better security for political activists after Sirawith "Ja New" Seritiwat was brutally attacked for the second time in less than a month.

Mr Sirawith, 27, was on Friday assaulted by four men and sent for treatment in an intensive care unit.

Following the incident, the Campaign for Popular Democracy group issued a statement calling on the government and the Royal Thai Police to provide protection for activists.

"The prime minister, national police chief and relevant agencies [should] expedite investigations and bring those responsible to serve penalties according to the justice system as soon as possible to prevent such incidents in the future," it said, adding that measures must be taken to make sure that no one, no matter which side he or she takes politically, is subject to intimidation or physical assault.

The group also called on society to shy away from hate speech and provocative remarks, and on the government to reform the justice system and find ways to solve the conflicts that have beset the country in recent times.

Politicians, including Future Forward Party leader Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit, Democrat spokesman Rames Ratanachaweng and former coordinator for the People's Alliance for Democracy Suriyasai Katasila, as well as Amnesty International all took to social media to condemn the assault.

Although the attackers are still unknown, Pheu Thai spokeswoman Ladawan Wongsriwong said the coalition government coalition parties must work to bring the culprits to justice.

Nuttaa Mahattana, another anti-coup campaigner, and the Democracy Restoration Group, posted on Facebook on Friday that the attack took place about 11am near Mr Sirawith's house in Klong Sam Wa district of the capital.

The Prachatai news outlet quoted his mother as saying at 2pm that a brain scan showed no haemorrhaging but that he was still slipping in and out of consciousness. His injuries included an orbital fracture, black eyes and a broken nose.

He was admitted to the ICU of Navamin 1 Hospital. Anon Nampa, a lawyer representing pro-democracy activists including "Ja New", said Mr Sirawith had been assaulted by a group using baseball bats at the mouth of Ram Intra Soi 109. He was alter transferred to Mission Hospital.

Motorcycle taxi drivers in the area gave him first aid while he was waiting for an ambulance.

It was the second assault targeting him in less than a month. Police have not been able to find the attackers who, in both incidents, wore helmets to mask their identities.

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