Opinion: Police chief once again skips parliamentary invitation to discuss police violence

The national chief of police, Suwat Jangyodsuk, could not care less about the unnecessary confrontation at protest sites and the excessive use of force on protesters.

If he does then he would have shown up to at least one of the meetings on these issues.

He failed to turn up in August when Sira Jenjaka, an MP from the ruling Palang Pracharath Party, who chairs the parliament’s Law, Justice and Human Rights Committee, invited him to explain the heavy-handed crackdown on demonstrations near the Din Daeng and Victory Monument residential areas.

Police General Suwat said he was busy and failed to even send a representative to that meeting which included representatives from the Office of the National Human Rights Commission, Bangkok’s Department of Law Enforcement, residents in the affected condominiums, and the Deputy Permanent Secretary for Bangkok. 

On Wednesday, Suwat and Police Lieutenant General Samran Nualma, the commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Bureau, also failed to show up at another similar meeting.

This time it was set up by Somkid Chuakong, an MP from the main opposition Pheu Thai Party who is also a deputy chairman of the parliament’s administrative committee, which included protesters who were injured by the police.

Suwat did send a legal representative but that was all despite Somkid insisting that at least Samran should be the one to explain the excessive use of force.

Three people were shot at point-blank range by rubber bullets -actions that could have caused permanent disabilities or death.

This should not be allowed to pass without explanation.

The action at the highest level of police undoubtedly transfers down to their subordinates and this callousness is worrying.

There is overwhelming evidence that the police are not adhering to international norms in cracking down on protesters and a public explanation is warranted.

A discussion between all sides is also needed to avoid unnecessary confrontation and better orders must be forthcoming from the highest level of police.

Worrying Examples

Take for example, if the crowd-control police stayed within their compound near the police hospital in Pathumwan earlier this month, no one would have been shot.

Why did they try to stop the protesters from marching to the German Embassy when the protesters were peaceful?

If the police talked to the protesters and the officers on the ground were more restrained, none of the shootings would occur.

The police should also remind themselves that this government will not last forever. One day when the government in charge is no longer in their favor, they will have to answer and pay for these actions.

Sira called Suwat a “coward” who could be afraid of the truth while Somkid said he will continue to invite the police chief to come and talk to deescalate the tension between the police and the protesters.

The mediators are ready and the protesters are willing to talk but the only related party that does not seem to be interested in dialogue is the police.  

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