Crowd control police officer remains under critical condition after reportedly being shot during protest confrontation at Din Daeng junction

PHOTO: Thairath

Bangkok –

A riot police officer was seriously injured after reportedly being shot in the head during a confrontation with pro-democracy protesters at the Din Daeng junction Wednesday evening, October 6th.

Police Colonel Sirikul Kritphittayaboon, Royal Thai Police deputy spokesperson, revealed to the Associated Press yesterday night, October 7th, the treatment progress of Pol. Lt. Col Dejawit Lettenson, Crowd Control Division 1 commander, who critically suffered from a head injury while dispersing a protest near Vibhavadi-Rangsit Road and Soi Chaturathit 2 Intersection 23 around 10:43 P.M. on Wednesday night. He was rushed to Police General Hospital immediately after.

The official is still unconscious and under critical condition and is being treated at ICU and on a ventilator, according to the spokeswoman and a second press conference after midnight today, October 8th, 2021. Medical staff had managed to remove some parts of explosive shells but some debris is still present inside. Dejawit is also unconscious and on an incubator. The firearm or weapon used to injure Dejawit had not been identified at this time.

Sirikul stated: “Dejawit is under close medical observation before considering whether to resume the surgery or not. Doctors must also closely watch for signs of internal bleeding in the brain and other important areas.”

Investigation on the crime and a manhunt for the assailants are in the progress, she added. Moreover, six young protesters were detained during the clashes Wednesday and an additional thirteen suspects yesterday. A total of 28 suspects have been arrested in the past day and a half since the incident, according to Bangkok police, some as young as 11-years-old that were reportedly involved in the protests well after a mandatory Covid-19 curfew in Bangkok of 10:00 P.M.

Din Daeng intersection has recently become an ongoing flashpoint between hardline pro-democracy demonstrators and riot control police nearly every day for several months. The protest is staged mainly to oust and express anger against what they said to be the failure of Prime Minister Prayut Chan-O’Cha and his government to manage the country under the Covid-19 pandemics. The protesters involved are mainly youth, according to both Bangkok police and witnesses at the scene. Unlike many other protest groups, the protesters at Din Daeng are not afraid to use fireworks, small homemade “ping pong bombs” and other items to make their point heard. Police have responded with water cannon trucks, rubber bullets, and other crowd-control devices that have been criticized by protesters.

Numerous calls for ceasefires and pleas from local residents to stop the nightly conflicts have taken place but so far have not happened.

Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan O’CHa has personally stated that he was concerned for the health of Dejawit and called for the individual(s) responsible to be brought to justice, stating that the protests at Din Daeng were not, according to him, peaceful protests or assembly in any way and has condemned the nightly protests.

TPN media notes that protests and assemblies are against Thai law currently under the Emergency Decree in Bangkok. This is, according to Bangkok officials, meant to stop gatherings that could spread Covid-19. Thai officials claim the decree is not political but protesters deeply disagree, stating that they believe the orders and law are primarily being used by law enforcement to enforce what they call draconian penalties against them for expressing their opinions.

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National News Writer at The Pattaya News. Born and raised in Bangkok, Nop enjoys telling stories of her hometown through her words and pictures. Her educational experience in the United States and her passion for journalism have shaped her genuine interests in society, politics, education, culture, and art.