Civil Society Organisations condemn the Thai Government’s violent attacks against peaceful demonstration, including the use of rubber bullets and arrest of protestors, during civil society’s parallel demonstration at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Bangkok, which is being held from 16-18 November 2022.
On November 18, 2022, around 10.10 am, Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR) and iLaw reported a clash between Thai riot police and unarmed protestors on their peaceful mobilization from the Bangkok City Hall to the APEC 2022’s venue at Queen Sirikit National Convention Centre. There was a report of riot police firing rubber bullets at a close range and aiming at the chest level, causing head, eye, and back injuries to protestors. One journalist is reported to have sustained an eye injury, another journalist being beaten by a police baton on head and leg, and a photographer injured by a glass bottle that was thrown from behind the riot police’s line.
Around 12.30pm, riot police once again began to use rubber bullets to demolish the peaceful demonstration while protestors were resting at lunch. Prior to this, riot police also used foam to extinguish smoke from a traditional Thai ceremony where protestors burn peppers and chillies—a symbolic act meant to draw attention to APEC’s destructive policies. The riot police’s actions provoked protestors to throw objects back at the police.
At 2pm, at least 20 people – among these are five journalists, were reported to have been injured from the demolition, five with severe injuries. At least 25 peaceful protestors were arrested at Thong Song Hong Police Station.
We, the undersigned civil society organizations and individuals condemn the Government of Thailand’s unlawful attack against peaceful demonstration, unarmed protestors, and journalists, and demand that:
- Thai Government must immediately stop indiscriminate and violent attacks against peaceful protestors and guarantee that journalists and all protestors are safe, and the freedom of the press is upheld;
- Thai Government must be accountable for the State’s violence against peaceful demonstration through a fair trial: all victims must receive full treatment and compensation for the harm they have suffered;
- Thai Government must immediately release all detained protestors. All charges against peaceful demonstration must be revoked.
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