Opinion: Police brutality is on the rise despite promises of deescalation

Metropolitan Police Bureau Spokesman Piya Tawichai said last Friday that the police will “definitely” implement a softer approach to protesters and stop running street battles that have taken place nightly near Din Daeng intersection.

Apparently, what he failed to mention, was that this soft approach involves beating up outnumbered protesters, hitting them in the head with rubber batons, shooting directly at them with rubber bullets, chasing them through rooftops in residential areas, and running over them with police vehicles.

On Saturday night, the police told reporters to stop their live coverage before arresting 52 people near the Din Daeng flats project.

Police officers chased protesters on rooftops, into homes, and allegedly broke limbs and skulls when making arrests. We will never know because the press were muzzled by security forces.

On Sunday, police ran over a 14-year-old.

Luckily, the kid survived with no broken limbs but he is suffering from an injury to his neck.

The police sergeant who was driving the vehicle said he was driving around Din Daeng junction when a group of six or seven protesters came out from the side of the road and started to hit the vehicle with blunt objects and there were sounds of explosions around him.

The police said he was unarmed and was in fear of his safety so he tried to get out of there as fast as possible but couldn’t avoid hitting the teenager who stopped in front of him.

Video footage reveals something different.

It showed that the vehicle was already at speed when it crashed into the person. The video also showed that the sergeant kept on driving after the accident.

On Monday, the police said they will prosecute the people who attacked the vehicle and if there is a complaint from the hit and run victim, they will also prosecute the sergeant.

It is clear now that police do not understand the situation.

Piya’s comments on Friday show that they do not. They can promise to deescalate all they want but the cameras and the media reveal the truth. Police have acted with increasing brutality, impunity, and belligerence.

It is only getting worse.

On Friday, Police Deputy Spokesman Krissana Pattanacharoen said they still do not know what the protesters want from coming to Din Daeng almost every day.

They should start by looking in the mirror and think about real meaningful ways to deescalate tensions.

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