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In Bangkok, Thai police are brutalising child protesters

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As Thailand’s youth-led protests gather momentum after strict COVID-19 lockdowns muzzled the freedom to peacefully assemble for months, newspaper coverage of recent rallies has focused overwhelmingly on clashes between protesters and police, portraying the demonstrations as a battleground with petrol bombs and fireworks unleashed on one side, and repeated use of tear gas, water cannon and rubber bullets on the other.

These media reports, however, unfairly depict the mostly peaceful demonstrations and distract attention from the consistently brutal treatment of child protesters by the Thai police.

Many students assembling at Bangkok’s Din Daeng intersection – a key site of recent protests – are in their early teens, with some as young as 11. Some have lost parents to COVID-19 and have dropped out of school or work as they struggle to cope. Yet authorities continue to violently lash out against student protesters and others criticising their handling of the COVID-19 pandemic or pushing for reforms online.

A year after youth-led protests flooded the streets of Bangkok – yellow rubber ducks, school uniforms and Harry Potter costumes appeared in mass demonstrations calling for social reform – the situation has turned increasingly ominous over the last few months, with record numbers of peaceful student leaders being detained, beaten by police and denied bail. Authorities continue to detain children, including........

© Al Jazeera

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