Violence mars a night of protests in downtown Bangkok

Hundreds of protesters marched from Bangkok’s Pathumwan intersection to the German embassy on Sunday to submit a petition in response to a recent court ruling which determined that calls for reform of the institution was akin to treason.

It was the largest protest the country has seen in months. 

The demonstrators gathered in response to last Wednesday’s constitutional court ruling that found three prominent activists guilty of attempting to overthrow the royal institution.

The court ruled that activists, Arnon Nampa, Panupong “Mike” Jadnok and Panusaya “Rung” Sithijirawattanakul had committed treason in speeches they gave last year. 

Conflict in Bangkok
As protesters began moved through the city, small-scale clashes occurred at the various police blockades set up to hinder their movements.

Small explosions were heard by Thai Enquirer journalists covering the event. Some witnesses told Thai Enquirer that they believed the Thalugaz, a fringe group of disenfranchised young men, were behind the firecrackers and “ping pong bombs.”

There were also reports of gunfire in the area with police using rubber bullets on the demonstrators.

One man was seriously injured with a shot to the chest.

The wounded man, now identified only by his first name, Apinyo, 23, was taken to a nearby hospital by volunteers and medics.

Prominent activist and doctor, Tosaporn Sererak, was one of the first to respond to the shooting. 

“The bullet went through his lung, now he is at Chula Hospital,” Dr. Tosaporn told Thai Enquier. “It’s not okay that the government has used this level of violence on its own people.” 

He added that the wound was significant. He says the round entered the man’s lung and liver and that paramedics had to insert a tube into his chest to keep him breathing. 

Tosaporn explained that it’s unclear at this stage what kind of round entered his body and that he’s waiting to hear from Chulalongkorn doctors to give the final assessment.

Dr. Tosaporn feels it’s very possible the round likely came from the police. 

“Right now he’s receiving medical assistance. He’s in a stable condition. But I hope that it wasn’t a true bullet,” Tosaporn said. 

Unknown shooter

Thai police have not taken responsibility for the injury only that an investigation was underway.

“We don’t know what happened at this time,” says Royal Thai Police spokesman Krissana Pattanacharoen.  “We will release a report on the incident as soon as we have more information. What I can say is that we are doing our best to keep law and order. We don’t believe there will be any more violent confrontations tonight.” 

Rights groups say that an independent inquiry must be made into the shootings.

“There should be a serious and impartial inquiry into the circumstances and decision-making process for the shootings by the police against demonstrators today,” Sunai Phasuk, the senior Thailand Researcher from Human Rights Watch told Thai Enquirer.

“The Thai government and the Royal Thai Police should be clear that its rules on the use of force by law enforcement comply with international human rights standards and are strictly followed at all times. Nothing justifies giving a blank check to the police to use violence with impunity.”

Sunai said that at least two people were confirmed to be shot.


Government asks for cooperation from arrivals from at-risk countries

The government is asking 241 arrivals from eight “high-risk” African countries to report back to authorities and get tested...

Latest article