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Protesters demand that police take responsibility for Ramkhamhaeng deaths

DURING THEIR symbolic move to "take over" the Royal Thai Police Headquarters yesterday, anti-government protesters submitted a letter to police calling on them to take responsibility for the deaths and injuries of Ramkhamhaeng University students in recent clashes with red shirts.

The anti-government protest led by the Students and People's Network for Thailand's Reform (STR) marched from the Nang Lerng intersection to the Royal Thai Police headquarters to call on police to take responsibility for the student casualties.

The protest was led by STR leader Utai Yodmanee and group adviser Nitithorn Lamlua, and included allies from the protest at Rajdamnoen Avenue led by Thaworn Senneam and Issara Somchai.

The leaders negotiated with police and called on them to open the gate of the headquarters, which was protected by barriers. At first, police did not agree, so security guards tried to open the gate. Finally, police allowed protesters to enter the Royal Thai Police headquarters but the protesters did not go in.

Thaworn, as a representative of the protesters, sent a letter via Pol Maj-General Montri Yimyaem after negotiations in which protesters demanded police investigate and take action related to the killings and injuries of Ramkhamhaeng University students during clashes with red-shirt protesters over the past weekend.

Thaworn said police should speed up these cases and complete the investigations within seven days.

The police chief should also tell officers to stop using violence against protesters, he said.

Pol Lt-Colonel Anchulee Theerawongpaisal, deputy national police spokeswoman, said police use sweet squadhad deployed female officers to the front lines because they had a softer approach than male officers, which helped to lower tensions.

Jeab, a female police officer who was among those who lined up to welcome the protesters, said she had been staying at the Royal Thai Police headquarters day and night since Sunday.

"I'm not afraid of the dangers posed by protesters, because I believe that we are all Thais so we won't harm each other," the policewoman said.

In a separate development, Public Health Minister Pradit Sinthawanarong said the total number of people injured in political incidents since Saturday was 285, while 19 people were still being treated at hospitals. Most of them suffered from tear-gas exposure, rubber-bullet wounds or chronic diseases. One severely injured person was shot in the chest and was being treated at Ramathibodi Hospital.


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