Chadchart says clash a vital lesson
"Errors" in crowd control management during a clash at the "Citizens Stop Apec 2022" protest on Friday have taught the authorities a lesson in crowd management for the future, said Bangkok governor Chadchart Sittipunt on Monday.
Mr Chadchart had a discussion regarding a protest site designation at Lan Khon Muang with executives of the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) after the clash on Din So Road on Saturday.
The pro-democracy rallies moved from the designated protest site at Lan Khon Muang as they tried to break through the police cordon at the Queen Sirikit National Convention Center (QSNCC), the venue of the 29th Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) summit before the clash between them and the police took place.
As tensions escalated, riot police fired rubber bullets to prevent demonstrators from moving from the area and made 25 arrests.
A total of 10 people suffered minor injuries during the clash, according to the Erawan Medical Centre.
One person suffered a serious eye injury, while five officers were hurt as some protesters threw smoke bombs and other objects.
The 25 people who were arrested were released on bail on Saturday, police said.
Lan Khon Muang is one of seven public spaces provided by the BMA for political activities.
Mr Chadchart said Lan Khon Muang had been used for political rallies 14 out of 36 times after the BMA named it as an area that was permitted to stage such events.
He said the clash, which caused some injuries for the demonstrators, was regrettable.
"One lesson that we have learned from the clash is how we can put an end to both sides of a political protest," said Mr Chadchart.
He also insisted that the idea of designated spaces for political rallies had been well received, especially as the BMA is considered politically neutral and provides equal care for the people, whatever their views.