Most of PPT’s readers will have already seen the sad news of the death of 72 year-old Arkaew Saelew. Arkaew was shot in front of IT Square shopping mall in Laksi district on 1 February, the night before the 2 February polls that the anti-democrats opposed
Khaosod reports that he “had been confined to his hospital for the last seven months after a bullet to the neck shattered his nerve system and paralysed him from the neck down.”
He was shot as “[a]nti-government protesters sought to block the election by besieging Laksi District Office, where poll ballots and other equipment were stored, prompting pro-government demonstrators to stage a counter rally nearby.” Arkaew had joined the pro-government side.
In a brief battle between the twos sides, pro-government demonstrators were pinned down by anti-government militants equipped with automatic rifles and bullet-proof armor. The anti-democrat gunmen were organized in military style and were careful to collect bullet casing and protect their identities.
Anti-democrat ideology had long been nasty and misogynist, with a heavy fascist accent. However, when these killers were lauded as heroes for the anti-democrats, with bad taste t-shirts carrying their image being sold at anti-democrat rallies, the violence of the anti-democrat ideology was reinforced.
In March this year, the police “said they arrested a member of the anti-government militant group, who has been dubbed the ‘popcorn gunman’ because he concealed his firearm in a popcorn bag during the gunfight.” That suspect apparently remains in jail awaiting a trial.