House committee asked to investigate handling of clash that resulted in injuries during Apec summit
A representative of four photojournalists injured in a clash between riot police and anti-government protesters at last week’s Apec summit has asked parliamentarians to investigate allegations of police brutality.
Pongpiphat Banchanont, a senior editor of the online news outlet The Matter, on Thursday filed the petition with the House Committee on Political Development, Mass Communications and Public Participation.
Riot-control police have been accused of assaulting journalists during the Nov 18 clash on Din So Road, where officers were trying to stop protesters from marching to the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) summit venue seven kilometres away.
The Royal Thai Police have announced their own investigation, saying any officers found to have used excessive force would be disciplined accordingly.
Mr Pongpiphat said the civil court last year issued an order that police are required to take the safety of journalists into consideration while controlling riots during protests. However, he said, many people thought the crowd-control measures carried out on Nov 18 by police featured unusual brutality.
He said the petition asked the committee to investigate the cause of the violence and hold authorities accountable for their actions.
It also calls on the national police chief, commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Bureau, the commissioner of the Protection and Crowd Control Division and officers who were in charge of riot-control police on Nov 18 to provide public accounts of what occurred.
Mr Pongpiphat also said that the petition demands police reveal documents concerning the use of rubber bullets and other equipment used for crowd control on that day.
“We want the police to be held to certain standards and be responsible. Some officers might have made mistakes but, at least, the organisation should be able to inspect its own internal affairs to improve police performance,” he said.
The appeal was received by Nattacha Boonchaiinsawat, a Move Forward Party MP.
Four photojournalists from The Matter, Top News, Prachatai and Reuters were among those injured in the clash between the police and protesters. Ten protesters in all were injured, along with five police officers. A total of 25 protesters were arrested and later released on bail.
Source: Bangkok Post