Opposition leaders call for police reform after weekend violence

Opposition leaders told Thai Enquirer on Tuesday that police reform was necessary after violent clashes between protesters and security forces in Bangkok during the past weekend.

A confrontation between police and pro-democracy protesters ended in tear gas, rubber bullets, and injuries on Sunday evening after protesters charged a police line in anger.

Police responded to the protesters, who were calling for the government of General Prayut Chan-ocha to resign, with baton charges and mass arrests before dispersing the crowd with close-range rubber bullet salvos.

“I cannot accept this,” said Pheu Thai Deputy Leader Pichai Narithapan. “This is an abuse of power and the intent is that the government do not want large gatherings of people to oppose them.”

“We need to remind the police that political change could take place soon and if they continue [to carry out these acts] there could be an investigation on who ordered the use of force.

Rangsiman Rome, a leading Move Forward MP, told Thai Enquirer that police brutality only makes the situation worse.

“I believe that the people went overboard and do not learn from their mistakes,” he said by phone. “If peaceful protests cannot take place then we have sen from other countries that it usually ends with violence.”

“We need to prevent the use of force by the police from becoming a new normal because it will make the situation worse.”

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