20 March 2021 - Police Brutality #WhatsHappeningInThailand
Saturday, March 20, 2021, the pro-democracy protest #ม็อบ20มีนา and the world had witnessed shocking acts of violence and brutality from the Thai police. It was the most violent crackdown on the protest since the beginning of the pro-democracy protests in July 2020. Thousands of protestors rallied at Sanam Luang to voice their demands; constitutional amendment, monarchy reform, and release of several protest leaders and activists who have been jailed and consistently denied bail. These are the demands which were backed by hundreds of thousands of people since the protest movement last year. And yet, not only that the Thai government ignored them, the authorities decided to deal with the protestors in an increasingly violent way!
Water cannon, tear gas, and rubber bullets were used against unarmed civilians while the protest was relatively peaceful and was set to disperse by itself at 9 PM. BUT - Instead, the police announced they would arrest everyone in the protest early on (keep in mind that nothing even happened yet) and used force to disperse the protest.
Many evidences; videos, photos, and eye witnesses show a shocking abuse of power from the Thai police; they were beating up a protester until unconscious, using tear gas excessively, firing the gun with rubber bullets recklessly, completely disregarding who and where the bullets would hit. And as it turned out, several people including 3 journalists who were on duty were hit with rubber bullets in the upper torso and head which landed one of them in the ICU.
33 people were injured and 32 people were arrested in the aftermath. Among those arrested, 7 of them were minors under the age of 18 with the youngest being only 14 years old!
What the Thai police did is not acceptable and we cannot let this continue! We cannot tolerate the normalization of police violence on unarmed protestors. It is not normal! Once again, the Thai police has violated international human rights standards; including the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), Article 21 of ICCPR on the right of freedom to peaceful assembly, and OHCHR guidance on less-lethal weapons.
We strongly condemn the police brutality and stand in solidarity with the protestors who dare to speak truth to power and demand for real democracy ! We call on the Thai police to respect human rights and on the Thai government to listen to the demands of the protestors, to release protest leaders and activists who have been unjustly detained!
Khaosod English, 20 Arrested during the crackdown near the Grand Palace, reporters hit by rubber bullets (21 March 2021), available at: https://www.khaosodenglish.com/news/crimecourtscalamity/2021/03/21/20-arrested-during-the-crackdown-near-grand-palace-reporters-hit-by-rubber-bullets/
Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR), Recap of the crackdown on March 20 Protest: REDEM group and protestors faced tear gas and rubber bullets, 32 were arrested afterward (21 March 2021), available at: https://tlhr2014.com/archives/27222
Prachatai, March 20 Protest rallied at Sanam Luang, sending a letter to demand for constitutional monarchy and monarchy reform (21 March 2021), available at: https://prachatai.com/journal/2021/03/92209
Daily News, Channel 8 reporter shot in the head with rubber bullet, got bruised and had a severe headache (21 March 2021), available at: https://www.dailynews.co.th/politics/832386
Bangkok Post, We did nothing wrong’—Police say protesters started the violence (21 March 2021), available at: https://www.bangkokpost.com/thailand/general/2087323/we-did-nothing-wrong