German freelance photojournalist Nick Nostitz was assaulted on Monday afternoon in front of the Metropolitan Police Bureau, in Bangkok, by anti-government protesters, after Chumpol Julsai, former Democrat MP and protest leader, identified him as “red shirt journalist” through loudspeaker.
Nostitz said he was punched in the face multiple times by the guards of the protest around 1.30pm, despite the fact that he wore green armband issued by the Thai Journalist Association. He was eventually accompanied out of the scene by several police officers.
The protest was a part of the rally led by Suthep Thueksuban, the protest leader and former Democrat MP, who vows to seize all major governmental units and TV stations to get rid of the government and “Thaksin regime” within three days.
After the incident, Suthin Wannaboworn, former journalist and supporter of the People’s Alliance for Democracy, or the yellow shirt, said in an interview on pro-Democrat Bluesky channel that he believed that Nostitz was a journalist who was “organized” by the red shirts.
Nostitz, who has covered major political events in Thailand for the past eight years, said he has never seen such incident where the protest leader denounced journalist in the political rallies.
“In the rallies, there might be shouting or yelling from the protesters, but that’s fine. But such pinpointing by the leader to attack journalist, I’ve never seen before. It’s the first time in my life that this happened,” he said, adding that he would not go back and cover this anti-government rally again due to his safety.
He also denied the Democrat's accusation that he received money from the former PM Thaksin Shinawatra.
"If I really take money from Thaksin, why would I still ride the old motorcycle to go around covering events?" said Nostitz
The Foreign Correspondents' Club of Thailand today called on protesters to respect the rights of journalists covering the protests.
"The FCCT deplores this in the strongest possible terms, and calls upon protest leaders to unequivocally and publicly state that the rights of journalists, foreign or Thai, should be respected," it said in the statement.