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Police chief says officers who covered protester’s mouth “just doing their job”

Two policewomen who covered an elderly protester’s mouth and tried to push her out of the way during a visit by the Thai PM were just “doing their duty”, according to the National Police Chief.

According to a Nation Thailand report, Damrongsak Kittiprapas says the officers had a responsibility to remove the woman from the area after she began yelling curses at Prayut Chan-o-cha.

The PM was a on visit to the Ban Pong Community Hall in the western province of Ratchaburi on Monday, when the elderly woman began shouting and cursing at him. According to Damrongsak, the policewomen who covered her mouth and tried to remove her were following the security protocol laid out for the visit.

PHOTO: National Police Chief Damrongsak Kittiprapas

Despite the officers’ best attempts to get her out of the area, the woman remained defiant and more police officers had to get involved, eventually managing to drag the woman to an area behind a parked van.

Those who witnessed the incident or who have seen video footage have questioned the actions of the police. A number of people say they believe excessive force was used, pointing out that covering the woman’s mouth in such a way could have suffocated her.

However, Damrongsak has dismissed the criticism, saying anytime the PM visits an area, security protocol always requires police and security officers to keep peace and order. If someone gets too close to the PM’s car, officials are responsible for removing the person from the area.

“And when someone shouts curses, police at the scene must keep peace and order.”

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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