Ratchaburi policewomen who dragged protester away were only doing their duty: police chief
National Police chief Pol General Damrongsak Kittiprapas on Tuesday defended the actions of policewomen in Ratchaburi province to remove an aged woman from a venue after she shouted curses at the visiting prime minister on Monday.
Damrongsak said the two policewomen, who were seen covering the mouth of the protester while dragging her away from the scene, appeared to be simply carrying out their security protocol for the prime minister's visit.
The elderly woman was dragged away from Ban Pong Community Hall in Ratchaburi on Monday morning where a crowd was waiting to greet Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha after she allegedly started shouting curses at the PM.
Witnesses said a plainclothes policewoman quickly covered the woman’s mouth and tried to push her out of the crowd. As the woman remained defiant, other officers had to forcefully drag her out to an area behind a parked van.
Critics have accused the policewomen of using excessive force and covering her mouth in a way that could have suffocated her.
Damrongsak said when the government leader makes a visit to any place, the security protocol requires police or officers from other security agencies of the government to keep peace and order in the area.
He said when a person approaches too close to the prime minister’s vehicle, security officials must move the person away as per the protocol.
“And when someone shouts curses, police at the scene must keep peace and order,” Damrongsak added.
He said the Ratchaburi police chief has reported the incident to him but he has yet to read the report in detail.
“I have yet to read the report to see whether it’s an excessive use of power,” Damrongsak said.
The National Police chief said the woman would have filed a complaint against the two policewomen if she considered their actions an excessive use of power.
“When the government leader makes a field trip now or in the future, security might be tightened because a former Japanese prime minister was assassinated recently,” Damrongsak said. He was referring to the assassination of Shinzo Abe, the former prime minister of Japan and a serving member of the House of Representatives, on July 8, 2022 while speaking at a political event outside Yamato-Saidaiji Station in Nara City, Nara Prefecture, Japan.