Woman dragged away from PM’s visit

A 61-year-old woman who was dragged away by police officers after she tried to protest during Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha’s visit to Ratchaburi Province on 13 March 2023 has pressed charges against the police for the incident.

Wanthana (floral shirt) being tackled by police officers

A video clip posted on Twitter by Khaosod shows an elderly woman, later reported to be 61-year-old Wanthana Othong, surrounded by a group of plainclothes and uniformed police officers and dragged along the ground of a parking lot. Two women officers held her arms, while one had a hand over her mouth. Khaosod also noted that an officer held an umbrella to block reporters from recording the incident, and that they later asked reporters at the scene for their press IDs.

It was reported that Wanthana was waiting for the Prime Minister’s entourage and shouted words of criticism at him before she was tackled by the two women officers.  

Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR) reported that Wanthana was charged at Banpong Provincial Police Station with refusing to follow an officer’s order, causing a noise or disturbance in public, and resisting an official. She was granted bail using a 10,000-baht security, covered by the Will of the People bail fund.

TLHR noted that Wanthana suffered injuries during her arrest, including a swollen ankle, inflammation of the wrist, pain in the left side of her body and several scratches.

Wantana went to the Crime Suppression Division headquarters in Bangkok today (14 March) to file a complaint against the police officers for the incident, which she said violated her rights and is an attempt to illegally detain her.

Wanthana said that she wanted to meet the Prime Minister to file a complaint, so she went to wait for his entourage. She was told by police officers that she should go to a Damrongtham Centre or a police station to file her complaint, but she said she has visited those agencies and wanted to file her complaint directly with Gen Prayut.

Wanthana said that the officers pulled her shirt collar, tackled her and cover her nose and mouth with their hands, so she had to try to free herself, but was not able to fight them off. She said she was sad that the Prime Minister treated her like nothing, and that the people should have the chance to speak to their leaders.


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