A small anti-government demonstration in Jomtien Beach turned violent Sunday night when a protest organizer head-butted a Russian expat who reportedly injected his own opinion into the debate.
Vladislav Timokin, 52, was assaulted by Narathiwat ‘Ken’ Khamma, one of three leading activists behind the 6 p.m. rally on Jomtien Beach Road at the Dongtan Curve. Much of the incident was captured on video.
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The demonstration featured speeches from long-time democracy activists Sirawith ‘Ja New’ Serithiwat and Wanchalerm Kunsen. About 30 Thais and foreigners looked on as the activists repeated the pro-democracy movement’s demand for Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha to resign, for the constitution to be amended, and for the monarchy to be reformed.
It was at that point that Timokin, accompanied by his Thai wife and their 10-year-old daughter, approached the protest leaders and said something. That part of the incident was not captured on video, but it obviously upset Narathiwat, who began screaming and cursing at the Russian, telling him to go back to his home country and other obscenities.
The Russian backed off, saying he didn’t want trouble, but Narathiwat put an exclamation on his thoughts with a quick head-butt to Timokin’s face, bloodying his nose and forehead.
Timokin’s 10 year-old daughter witnessed the assault on her father at close range and became very distressed and couldn’t stop crying when she saw her father’s blood drenched face.
On the video clip, Ken is heard callously saying, “I didn’t punch him, I only head-butted him” before walking away across the street.
The person on stage could also be heard saying nonchalantly, “there has been a little quarrel with a foreigner, but that’s OK (mai pen arai), it’s normal…”
Bystanders made feeble attempts to hold Narathiwat back before he assaulted Tomikin and the protest quickly dispersed when police arrived. Both Timokin and Narathiwat were brought to Pattaya Police Station and officials are expected to provide the media with an update today.
Update: Last night Ken posted an apology on his Facebook page, ‘Mr’ken Breaker’ saying that he is sorry for his reckless behavior at the rally yesterday, causing damage to Pattaya and Thailand’s image. He also wrote that he did not know the woman who held up her middle finger threateningly in the child’s face.
There is of course no report of whether Ken apologized to the traumatized Timokin family.