Court orders 300K baht compensation for protesters from Thai police

Photo courtesy of Thai PBS World

The Royal Thai Police (RTP) have been slapped with a hefty bill of 300,000 baht over a brutal crackdown on pro-democracy Ratsadon, or People’s Party, protesters.

While the court’s decision may have came as a shock to many, the details of the ruling reveal a deeper, contentious battle between the authorities and the people.

The Civil Court ruled on December 28 that the RTP must cough up a staggering 300,000 baht in compensation for Ratsadon protesters who were physically harmed during a controversial crackdown in front of parliament on November 17, 2020.

The court, despite deeming the protest illegal due to the lack of prior police notification, condemned the excessive force unleashed by the police, particularly their use of water mixed with chemicals in water cannons. This toxic concoction left protesters with rashes, itching, skin inflammation, and breathing difficulties, leading the court to demand compensation.

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Former national human rights commissioner, Angkhana Neelapaijit, part of the plaintiffs seeking justice for the demonstrators, hailed the verdict as a step forward. She praised the court for acknowledging international rights and freedoms, challenging Thailand’s obligations as a signatory to uphold such principles.

However, Angkhana raised eyebrows by vehemently disagreeing with the court’s classification of the protest as illegal solely due to the lack of police notification. According to her, peaceful demonstrations are a fundamental right that the state should protect, regardless of prior notification.

While the court ordered compensation for physical injuries backed by medical evidence, Angkhana expressed dissatisfaction, highlighting the glaring omission of compensation for psychological harm. Notably, the national police chief emerged unscathed, acquitted and exempt from compensatory payments, reported Thai PBS World.

The protest, orchestrated by the Ratsadon group, aimed to exert pressure on parliament to greenlight seven draft constitutional revision bills, turning a political standoff into a legal battlefield.

In related news, the RTP, under the leadership of Commissioner Police General Torsak Sukvimol, has unveiled a significant achievement for the national justice system. A substantial number of convictions, specifically over 9.3 million from a total of 13 million, have been successfully expunged within two years.

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Puntid Tantivangphaisal

Originally from Hong Kong, Puntid moved to Bangkok in 2020 to pursue further studies in translation. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Comparative Literature from the University of Hong Kong. Puntid spent 8 years living in Manchester, UK. Before joining The Thaiger, Puntid has been a freelance translator for 2 years. In her free time, she enjoys swimming and listening to music, as well as writing short fiction and poetry.

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