FORSEA strongly condemns the violent crackdown on the unarmed protesters in Bangkok at the hands of the security forces on 16 October, 2020.
Through a series of protests led by young students across the country, the protesters have maintained their non-violent approach in calling for reforms of both the political system and the old feudal institution of monarchy and the extremely unpopular king. As it turned out, violence became the weapon of choice of the Thai government in cracking down on the protesters, at first in the early hours of 15 October.
The use of force evidently escalated at 6pm yesterday when several hundred police blocked the busiest shopping street of Bangkok at Siam Square, preparing for a head-on collision against unarmed protesters. Water canon trucks were deployed. Within minutes, they fired “blue water” at the protesters, causing a burning sensation on the sensitive skin of those affected. A five-year old boy, trapped in the crossfire, was also sprayed with the chemical substance.
The attacks with water canon eventually dispersed the crowds. But as protesters ran away in different directions, the police continued to hunt them down, arresting them, handcuffing them—some of them were just high school students. At one point, rubber bullets were used as part of dispersion efforts.
The act of the government, in particular the Thai police, breached the basic human rights guaranteed by the United Nations. People have right to peacefully assembly. As evident, the Thai government issued an emergency decree in order to justify its use of force against unarmed protesters.
FORSEA issues the strongest condemnation statement against the Thai government. It urges the government to lift the emergency decree, release all those arrested, return free space for the people, and most importantly, stop using violent tactics against the protesters.
We are in solidarity with all democratic movements in Thailand as well as those outside Thailand.
— Joshua Wong 黃之鋒 😷 (@joshuawongcf) October 16, 2020