Self-mutilating MP says he borrowed fruit knife from parliament maid

MP  Wisarn Techateerawat of the Pheu Thai Party cuts his arm Tuesday with a fruit knife during a special parliamentary session.
MP Wisarn Techateerawat of the Pheu Thai Party cuts his arm Tuesday with a fruit knife during a special parliamentary session.

An MP who slashed his arm during yesterday’s parliamentary session has apologized for the alarming incident, saying he used a borrowed fruit knife to harm himself.

After recovering from his superficial, self-inflicted wounds, opposition MP Wisarn Techateerawat said he wanted to send a message to Prime Minister Gen. Prayuth Chan-o-cha when he drew blood with three cuts to his arm in his apology to house speaker Chuan Leekpai and other lawmakers.

“I’m sorry for the chaos … I didn’t mean to do anything other than ask the PM to come down and solve people’s problems. It’s a shame he wasn’t at the session today,” Wisarn, a 64-year-old Pheu Thai Party representative for Chiang Rai, said last night after he was taken to the hospital. 

Wisarn said he did not carry the knife into the secure facility but borrowed it from a maid there. 

It was during the second day of an emergency session convened to discuss swelling anti-government rallies that Wisarn, who has served as a lawmaker since 1986, took the lectern to demand the government not use violence against demonstrators. He also demanded the Prayuth concede to protesters’ demands that he step down.

“I don’t want the students’ blood to be shed,” Wisarn said, removing his suit and rolling up his left shirt sleeve. “My request might violate House regulations, but I’m asking for permission to have my blood drawn to show Prayuth my sincerity.”

Chuan said he would not permit Wisarn’s actions and averted his eyes. 

Wisarn was taken to a hospital where he reportedly received nine stitches.

Prayuth reiterated this morning – for the third time in as many days – that he would not step down.

Wisarn’s theatrical act received a mixed reaction. A member of the ruling Palang Pracharath Party, Sira Jenjaka, criticized Wisarn for being “melodramatic” and damaging the parliament’s image. He said Wisarn should be prosecuted for bringing a weapon into the building.

Supporters praised him for being courageous.

“I respect MP Wisarn for committing such an act in protest. [His] action didn’t hurt anyone, but only empathized with the people’s struggles, repression and the parliament’s failure for being unable to solve their problems,” Twitter user @Lovekasuma wrote.

Faced with growing protests, Prayuth earlier this month imposed a state of emergency over the capital. Near daily rallies have continued, and while they have been peaceful and orderly, the authorities responded with force on Oct. 16 to disperse a rally at Pathum Wan Intersection with water cannons many present complained were laced with chemical irritants. 

The emergency decree over the capital has since been revoked.

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