Soldiers fired into the crowd

14 04 2010

Just in case you missed it, the army has now admitted that its soldiers fired directly at red shirt protesters. Most rational observers know this, but now it has been officially admitted.

The death toll has now reached 23.

Readers may recall that acting government spokesman Panitan Wattanayagorn said several times that the army did not fire a single live round at protesters. In an earlier post we referred to Simon Montlake on this: “Mr. Panitan said shots were fired at retreating soldiers, who also came under attack from grenades and homemade explosives. He said they fought back with rubber bullets and fired live rounds into the air, not directly into the crowd.” Montlake added: “This claim seemed at odds with gunshot wounds sustained by protesters near their barricades.”

The Bangkok Post (15 April 2010) now reports Colonel Sansern Kaewkamnerd, spokesman for the Centre for Public Administration in Emergency Situations, as saying: “Some soldiers fired live rounds at red shirt demonstrators to provide cover for injured comrades as they were retreating during Saturday’s clashes…”. He added that “the soldiers had no choice but to open fire at terrorists hiding among demonstrators to protect their colleagues.”

The Post says that the “CPAES released its comments as public suspicions grow over the use of violence by government forces during the April 10 violence. Video footage, including news coverage by foreign media outlets, shows pictures of soldiers firing automatic guns in the direction of red shirt protesters.” In other words, the government’s lies were not accepted when evidence was available, so now they have to spin it as best they can, blaming others for motivating their actions.

The colonel said that the soldiers fired for two reasons: “First, they fired into the air to intimidate demonstrators, and then at advancing crowds to protect the lives of wounded comrades. They fired only one bullet at a time and did not switch to fully automatic to avoid causing more casualties…”. Sansern’s awful dissembling is available in the story.

Meanwhile the government embarks on a search for “assassins” of 5 dead soldiers while apparently doing nothing about investigating the 18 dead protesters. Double standards? Of course it is. And there are plenty more examples in the media. One striking instance is the Bangkok Post’s “tribute” by a serving diplomat to Colonel Romklao Thuwatham, beginning with mention of the queen’s attendance at his funeral. He might deserve a tribute, but where are its tributes to the civilian dead?


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15 03 2012
Men in black and DSI « Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] soldiers were the victims in this action. The Abhisit government’s odious acting spokesman Panitan Wattanayagorn, even lied that no troops had fired at protesters. The royalists cheered when the queen and crown prince […]

15 03 2012
Men in black and DSI « Political Prisoners of Thailand

[…] that soldiers were the victims in this action. The Abhisit government’s odious acting spokesman Panitan Wattanayagorn, even lied that no troops had fired at protesters. The royalists cheered when the queen and crown prince […]