Over 500 people injured in protest-related violence in 2021

More than 500 people were injured from protest-related violence in 2021, according to the Internet Law Reform Dialogue (iLaw)’s latest report.

Pro-democracy and anti-Prayut protests started in mid-2020 with confrontations between protesters and security forces.

Protest-related violence continued through 2021 with further escalation.  

This resulted in scores of injuries, including one fatality, a 15-year-old boy name Warit Somno, and two people who went blind.

The report, with data from Mobdatathailand.org, Child in Mob, the Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR), the Emergency Medical Service Center, local news and the Royal Thai Police, showed that at least 528 people were injured from protests between January 1 and December 23.

The injured include 347 civilians (88 minors), 146 police officers, 29 journalists, three medical volunteers, two spectators and one soldier.

Most of the injuries were from rubber bullets, tear gas and flying projectiles. There were many more injuries that went unreported because they were minor, the report said.

August was the month with the highest number of injuries with 175 people injured from 15 days of protest. This was followed by September with 123 injured from 16 days of protest.

The day with the highest number of injuries was on February 28, when protesters marched from the Victory Monument to the front of Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-ocha’s house at the 1st Infantry Regiment military camp.

63 people, including 34 civilians, 28 police officers and one medical volunteer, were injured on that day.

The Thai police have been condemned by opposition parties, human rights groups and journalist associations for ignoring international standards and using excessive force against protesters, including shooting rubber bullets at point-blank range, firing from high vantage points and indiscriminately shooting tear gas near residential areas.

Many of the police officers were injured from firecrackers, homemade ping-pong bombs and slingshots.

Apart from the injured, TLHR also reported that 1,636 people in 896 cases have faced lawsuits for their political participation and expression between July 2020 and October 2021, including 258 minors under the age of 18.

Of that, 1,337 are being prosecuted for alleged violations of the emergency decree which came into effect in March 2020, 107 are being prosecuted for the alleged violations of the Public Assembly Act, 97 for alleged violations of the Computer Crime Act, 112 for sedition and 154 for lese-majeste.

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