Royal Thai Police hold press conference to discuss last night’s Bangkok protests and those arrested

Bangkok –

A total of 22 people were confirmed arrested during the pro-democracy demonstration at the First Infantry Regiment yesterday, February 28th, the Metropolitan Police Bureau announced at a press conference today.

Police Lieutenant General Phukphong Phongpetra, the chief of the Metropolitan Police Bureau, reported the overall situation regarding the protest yesterday, stating that the rally was staged from around 3:00 P.M. until 2:00 A.M. of this morning.

Police had periodically alerted the demonstrators throughout the protest to back down and disperse but some protesters were seen dismantling barbed-wire fences, removing barricades, and throwing things at the police force, according to the police statements.

The security force was concerned that the situation would become intense. The chief also confirmed the use of rubber bullets for the first time yesterday, adding that all equipment being used at the protest was licensed for crowd-control purposes and was not life-threatening. He stated that they were used due to the severity of the situation, protesters allegedly refusing to listen to orders, and trying to trespass on military property.

Despite the announcement of the end of the demonstration at around 9:00 PM, some demonstrators continued to gather in front of Sutthisan and Din Daeng Police Station, where a police car was reportedly burned, Phukphong stated.

“The damage investigation is currently ongoing. We are now able to identify the group of suspects and will investigate and take all the victims to prosecute, initially charged for arson and causing loss of property,” he continued.

Regarding viral photos and footage of police physically harming protesters that were widely shared on social media, the commissioner urged the public to look at the situation as a whole and to understand that the police was only attempting to put an end to the violence and arrest the prosecutors as quickly as possible.

He insisted that every officer had done in accordance with legal crowd control procedures with the priority to end the harsh violence among civilians before the situation would be beyond control.

Deputy commissioner Piya Tawichai continued that police had captured 22 alleged offenders during the clash and initially charged them for violating Emergency Decree and Disease control to prevent the spread of Covid-19 Coronavirus. Some were also charged for using electric sound amplifiers without permission, obstructing officials from performing their duties, and using force to intimidate officials.

A total of 90 police were wounded, 27 were hospitalized at the police hospital, and one died from a heart attack. A compensation of 2,740,000 baht for the family of the deceased will be contributed, Piya concluded.

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