Police deny using teargas against anti-establishment protesters on Saturday

Pol. Lt. General Pakkapong Pongpetra, chief of the Metropolitan Police Bureau, insists that police did not use teargas, rubber bullets or high pressure water cannon at the protest site yesterday (February 13th).

Pakkapong said, however, that 23 police officers were injured, mostly by a ping-pong bomb blast.

11 people were arrested for inciting public unrest last night, 3 of whom were found to be drunk and were not part of the mainprotest. Another 8 protesters were detained for throwing hard objects at the police. They will be charged for violating the disease control act and assaulting police officers.

Pakkapong said there were claims that the police assaulted nurses at the protest site. He said, from the initial investigation, it appears that the person who was in conflict with the police was not a career nurse, but a volunteer in the protesters’ first aid unit.

He insists the officers did not resort to violence, but it was necessary to fire a bullet into the sky to keep order, claiming thatsome protesters had refused to go through screening and were creating a disturbance.

Pakkapong said some protesters will be prosecuted for removing plant pots from around the Democracy Monument yesterday.

He added that there was a shooting at a nearby convenience store. The assailants were thought to be protest security guards. One suspect was detained, but others tried to take the suspect away from the police, resulting in another scuffle, during which a police officer was injured. The guards followed the police to Nanglearng police station and police claim they had to fire a shot into the sky to control the situation.

The arrested guard was later released, after the police concluded that he had nothing to do with the incident at the convenience store.


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