Govt, police guilty of Oct 7 crackdown: Senate panels

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Three senate panels resolved that the government and police were guilty of violating human rights during the violent crackdown against protesters led by the People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD) on October 7.

Senate committee on human rights, freedom and consumer protection chairman Somchai Sawaengkarn on Tuesday said the crowd dispersal on October 7 left over 400 people injured and two deaths, and the violent measures could be avoided. Officials can use other ways to enter the parliament or the meeting can be postponed or relocated, he noted.

“The committee sees that the incident has reflected the guilty party’s lack of discretion and their inappropriateness of using weapons to disperse the gathering,” said the senator.

He said the actions carried out by the police followed the cabinet’s resolution on October 6 to allow the government to announce its policy at the parliament as scheduled. Therefore, the government and the Royal Thai Police must be responsible for the damage done.

“Police officers did not negotiate with the protesters but instead used tear-gas canisters and rubber bullets against them, causing many injuries. Their acts infringed the Declaration of Human Rights and were more than necessary,” said Mr Somchai.

As for the government’s measures to aid the injured and families of the deceased, he said the panels considered that the budget of 56 million baht for the victims allocated by the government was not appropriate and fair. With this budget, the panels feared that it could exacerbate the situation in the future.

Bangkok Post, Nov 11, 2008

FURTHER READING

MCOT Senate probers say govt, police violate human rights in Oct 7 incident

Parliamentary probers investigating last month’s violence at the Thai Parliament concluded that the police had violated principles of human rights as the police bypassed appropriate step-by-step procedures when they used tear gas, according to the Senate Commission on Human Rights, Liberty, and Consumer Protection.

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