Weng keeps pressure on Army

11 09 2012

The Nation has a short report about red shirt leader and Puea Thai Party parliamentarian questioning the truthfulness of the Army boss General Prayuth Chan-ocha.

Weng claims to have “checked” and found that the “military did not have rubber bullets during the time of the riots [military crackdowns].” Hence, he “dismissed” the Army chief’s “statement that the military used rubber bullets during the red-shirt riots [sic.] in 2010.”

PPT is not sure if Weng has been accurately quoted or the exact context of his statement, but there are plenty of reports at the time that suggest rubber ammunition was available and used, along with plenty of “live ammunition” (see here, here, here and here). In fact, the initial report by Amsterdam & Peroff (see p. 14), states that such projectiles were fired from shotguns on 10 April 2010. Perhaps Weng is referring to the claim that snipers used rubber bullets with M16s, and questioning that.

Weng is also reported to have given the “Department of Special Investigation a list of 39 sharp-shooters appointed by the Centre for Resolution of the Emergency Situation. He asked the agency to reveal details about the appointment of the sharpshooters, their operation, and sites they were stationed at.”

At the time, it was widely reported that the Abhisit government’s CRES deployed snipers:

An army spokesman said security forces would surround the anti-government protest site in the heart of Bangkok with armoured vehicles from 6pm local time (11am GMT) to prevent more demonstrators entering the area. “No one would be allowed in,” the spokesman, Col Sunsern Kaewkumnerd, told AFP. “Snipers will be deployed in the operation.”

Weng also asked:

“DSI to probe the death of Sergeant First Class Pongchalit Pittayanontakan on May 17, 2010 near Silom, to try to find out if he was killed by a militia force or security officials. The MP said he also wanted the report on Pongchalit’s autopsy and those on Col Romklao Thuwatham and Private Narongrit Sala. He also submitted a picture of a sharpshooter that he wanted the DSI to summon for investigation.

Weng and the red shirts are keeping the pressure on the Army and the Yingluck Shinawatra government for an accounting of the deaths and injuries in 2010. The pressure may well intensify as the anniversary of the 2006 military coup approaches.

As a footnote to this report, PPT draws attention to The Nation’s use of “riots” twice in the article to describe the events of 2010. A riot is usually considered to be civil disorder that is characterized by disorganized acts by unorganized groups acting in a sudden and often very intense violence directed against state, property or people. Riots are often generated by civil unrest but are typically chaotic. The events of 2010 do not, for PPT, generally fit this description, and The Nation uses “riot” to diminish the significance of the uprising and to justify the Abhisit Vejjajiva-led government’s use of brutal force against red shirts.



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