Remembering the crackdown on red shirts

13 04 2014

PPT has been delayed in getting to this because of the rash of lese majeste action in the past few days. However, it has to be remembered that 10 April marked the first attempt by the then Abhisit Vejjajiva regime to smash the red shirt protests in 2010. The protesters were calling for an election. The crackdown was meant to silence that call. It was the result of orders that Suthep Thaugsuban claims he issued. Almost four years later it was Suthep at the head of the anti-democrats who prevented an election. As an editorial at Khaosod puts it, Abhisit and Suthep gave “coffins to those who were asking for ballot boxes.”

The Abhisit-Suthep-Army crackdown left “more than 20 people dead, mostly protesters, by the time the operation was called off. It was the bloodiest confrontation Thailand has seen in decades, but it was merely the beginning of a far more devastating outcome; the military later crushed the Redshirts in May 2010, resulting in a total body count of at least 90 people.”

The real figures are, as best PPT can determine, between 26-29 and 94-100, with the 10 April 2010 deaths shown in this Matichon graphic:

10 April 2010

The Khaosod editorial continues:

The damage from the crackdown extends beyond the loss of lives: Thai society has become far more polarised than ever before, some factions of the Redshirts turned to radicalisation, while dozens of political prisoners have languished in prison since the final days of the military operation in 2010.

Hopes were stirred among the Redshirts and human rights activists in Thailand when Yingluck Shinawatra surged to power via a landslide election victory in 2011, with a promise that her government would pursue legal prosecution against the perpetrators of the 2010 crackdown, and issue amnesty bills for ordinary citizens who had been jailed simply because they were caught up in the chaos of the protests.

Of course, the Yingluck government was forced and acquiesced all too easily to the threats from royalists, the palace and the military. Red shirts remain in prison and lese majeste remains a tool for royalists to repress and coerce. But giving in to the royalist elite was, as PPT posted many times, a failed strategy, and the hopeless amnesty bill showed a lack of understanding of the forces arranged against Thaksin, Yingluck, Puea THai and the red shirts; the royalists could never be “won over.” Khaosod comments:

Now the administration of Ms. Yingluck seems doomed, along with any hope of amnesty plan for the political prisoners who are still imprisoned.

Because of its misguided pursuit of the “Blanket Amnesty”, Pheu Thai Party ended up sabotaging the hopes that these prisoners could be freed from their captivity, back into the embrace of their families and friends.

Furthermore, it is also incredible that the Pheu Thai-led administration has not bothered to at least sign the order, via the legitimate channel of the Ministry of Justice, to grant these imprisoned citizens a temporary release throughout the previous years as a government.

At least Abhisit and Suthep have found themselves charged with murder and related charges, but as Khaosod observes:

it is unclear whether any justice will be administered if (or, some would say, when) the new power clique replaces Ms. Yingluck’s government. Most likely, the new government, hostile to Pheu Thai Party, will order all court procedures to a halt once they take power.

The Pheu Thai Party has unwittingly unleashed the force of anti-democracy by handing them the Blanket Amnesty Bill as a rallying point. In doing so, that force of anti-democracy is now allowed to threaten any chance of achieving the first legal prosecution and punishment of Thai state officials for their crimes against their own citizens.

It adds:

There is no question that the widespread violence 4 years ago was tragic, but what is even more tragic is the missed opportunities by Pheu Thai Party to at least ease the suffering of those affected by the crackdown in the years that followed.

In another Khaosod report, it is reported that red shirts “marked the anniversary of the military crackdown on their protests 4 years ago, while anti-government protesters held a separate vigil for the soldiers who died in the operation.” For the anti-democrats, the red shirts mowed down by the Army count for nothing.

From the Telegraph.

From the Telegraph

Khaosod’s brief report of the events of that night is, however, deeply flawed, and PPT recommends that readers unfamiliar with the events go back to our posts of those days.

It is reported that:

Redshirts chose to mark the anniversary with simple exhibition detailing the incident on 10 April 2010 at Imperial World Lat Phrao shopping mall in eastern Bangkok, and a Buddhist ceremony in the morning in memory of Redshirts demonstrators who lost their lives 4 years ago.

The exhibition also featured a musical performance and speeches by core leaders of the United Front of Democracy Against Dictatorship (UDD) in the evening.

The low-profile event contrasts with mass rallies called by the UDD to commemorate the 10 April crackdown in previous years. Mr. Jatupon Prompan, chairman of the UDD, explained that the idea of holding a rally around Democracy Monument was abandoned due to the presence of anti-government protesters who are encamped near the monument.

“We don’t want to provoke any violence, it may affect our brothers and sisters,” Mr. Jatupon said.

The extremes to which the royalist elite are prepared to go to protect political and economic privilege should not be forgotten: using deadly violence, the power of the state and ditching elections and trashing the economy are all strategies they have used in recent years.


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19 05 2014
Remembrance, “neutrality” and hunting down ministers | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] Today is the anniversary of the Democrat Party-led government-Army crackdown on red shirt protesters in central Bangkok and elsewhere in the country. Apparently on the orders of Suthep Thaugsuban and Abhisit Vejjajiva, the crackdown left scores of people dead and many more injured. PPT has kept a page that has the remnants of the reporting on the bloody April-May 2010 events. Not that long ago we remembered the April events. […]

19 05 2014
Remembrance, “neutrality” and hunting down ministers | Political Prisoners of Thailand

[…] Today is the anniversary of the Democrat Party-led government-Army crackdown on red shirt protesters in central Bangkok and elsewhere in the country. Apparently on the orders of Suthep Thaugsuban and Abhisit Vejjajiva, the crackdown left scores of people dead and many more injured. PPT has kept a page that has the remnants of the reporting on the bloody April-May 2010 events. Not that long ago we remembered the April events. […]




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