Updated: Soldiers and murdered protesters

12 04 2013

There have been several reports in the media regarding the red shirt commemoration of the events that began the deaths and injuries, overwhelmingly to protesters, during April and May 2010. Curiously, many of these reports have spent more time attending to the military version of events and to the relatively few deaths of soldiers in these events.

To be sure, any death is significant, but the weight of death, injury and resulting imprisonments were almost all suffered by red shirt protesters. It almost seems that certain parties in Thailand allocated far more value to soldiers than they do to protesters. This may reflect an elitist resentment of little people getting uppity and them “needing” to be “put in their place” or it may reflect a political passion for denigrating red shirts as being somewhat less than full people; think of the ideas about restricting voting and continually referring to red shirts as “buffaloes.”

PPT was struck by the Bangkok Post‘s reporting of red shirt “activities on Wednesday to remember the protesters killed in street clashes with security forces on April 10 three years ago,” which is immediately followed by the observation that “the army commander could not hide his frustration at the long delay in the investigation into the deaths of his soldiers in the fight at Khok Wua.”

While the figures vary, some 25 people were killed in the clashes on 10 April when soldiers were ordered to clear the red shirts from their Rajadamnoen protest site. Some 20 of the dead were civilians civilians and five were identified as soldiers.More than 800 were injured, many from the effects of tear gas.

An AP photo from the Telegraph: Protesters surround the coffins which will be used for the bodies of their comrades killed in clashes with troops.

An AP photo from the Telegraph: Protesters surround the coffins which will be used for the bodies of their comrades killed in clashes with troops.

The military initially lied that it used rubber bullets and tear gas in the clash, however evidence from the international and local media was clear that soldiers fired assault rifles and there were claims that there were army snipers at work. The protesters seized a large quantity of military weapons, including assault rifles, and heavy caliber weapons and ammunition as the military fled.

After telling its readers almost nothing about the commemoration or the 20 people killed, the Bangkok Post goes on to make a big deal of Army chief Prayuth Chan-ocha aending a “firm message to the UDD and investigators working on the case, reminding then soldiers were among the victims of April 10, 2010.” Perhaps his “firm message” should have been an apology for tyhe Army yet again having killed protesters on the streets of Bangkok. The Army’s assassination of protesters is so regular as to be normal in Thailand.

When Prayuth bleats that “the Department of Special Investigation (DSI) was dragging its feet in the investigation of the deaths and injuries among the soldiers,” any reasonable person might ask why the Army commanders, including Prayuth, are not held responsible for their murderous attacks on civilians. Recall that one of Prayuth’s “explanations” for the deaths of protesters is that it could not have been his boys, because if the Army was involved they would have murdered many more!

When Prayuth moans that “[t]hose responsible for the losses must be found, even though both sides claimed they had not done anything wrong. Soldiers are also citizens of Thailand,” he merely deflecting attention from the Army’s heinous record of murdering its own citizens.

When he says “[a]ll sides were entitled to justice,” he should explain why the military has repeatedly refused to provide testimony and evidence to various investigations. The explanation is simple: the Army has impunity. The military has repeatedly and falsely stated that it killed no one in April and May.

The Post story is about covering up the military’s crimes because a few soldiers were killed while engaged in violent crackdowns on its citizens. Perhaps the military brass does feel pressure from families of these unfortunate soldiers and the brass is used to not having to explain any of their criminal actions.

Abhsit Vejjajiva, whose government ordered two violent crackdowns and who faces charges related to the death of protesters, is cited as if he is an innocent bystander demanding “truth.”  Of course, the disingenuous Abhisit claims he ordered no crackdown; somehow the prime minister was just along for the ride when such decisions were made, presumably by his military tutors…. All he can complain about is men in black, his mantra for exonerating the Army of its responsibility. Even if we were to accept that there were unidentified MiB, it wasn’t them, whoever they are and whoever they worked for, who ordered the clearing of the protesters or the initial use of war weapons, snipers and live ammunition against protesters who had been pretty much peaceful.

The uninitiated reading the Bangkok Post could be forgiven for thinking that the military was the victim. As we have stated time and again in much earlier posts, the body count is clear. The Army killed protesters and they did so on the orders of their political and military leaders.

Update: The Red Shirt blog has a photo gallery of the events held on the commemoration of 10 April and a link to one analysis of the events.


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6 02 2017
The political story of men in black | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] The military and the Abhisit Vejjajiva regime-cum-Democrat Party repeatedly blamed a mysterious group of armed men in black who they claimed mingled with protesters and shot down soldiers. […]

6 02 2017
The political story of men in black | Political Prisoners of Thailand

[…] The military and the Abhisit Vejjajiva regime-cum-Democrat Party repeatedly blamed a mysterious group of armed men in black who they claimed mingled with protesters and shot down soldiers. […]