Thailand’s murderous crackdown

May 17, 2010

Thailand's army and the regime of right-wing Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva are responsible for a bloodbath on the streets of Bangkok. Soldiers moved in against pro-democracy demonstrators who have been gathered in the city for nearly two months to demand that the government--installed with the support of the military in 2008--resign and hold new elections.

The military claims to have sealed off the encampment of the demonstrators, who are known as the Red Shirts because of their clothing. Police have evidently stationed snipers around the camp, and they have accounted for a number of the dead. But the government's threats have so far failed to silence the protesters. Over the weekend, the government rejected another offer from the Red Shirts for negotiations mediated by the United Nations--and it extended a state of emergency order to a total of 22 provinces and Bangkok.

Thailand's government and military blame the protesters for starting the violence, and the Western media has lapped up their wild stories of mysterious "men in black" allegedly orchestrating the confrontations. But the press accounts are short on proof on this score--while the evidence of the Army's murderous rampage is all too clear.

Giles Ji Ungpakorn is a Thai academic and dissident who stands accused by the regime of the supposed crime of "lese majesty"--basically, not being loyal to Thailand's head of state, King Bhumibol. Facing a possible prison sentence of 15 years, he fled the country a year ago. Here, we reprint excerpts from Ungpakorn's recent blog entry.

AS OF early on Saturday, May 15, unconfirmed reports indicated that Abhisit's soldiers had shot dead at least 50 people. Later, 22 named deaths were confirmed by the government's Erawan Emergency Center. Hundreds more are injured. But an official from the center says that the real death toll is higher, but cannot be reported at the moment.

An official with Por Tek Tung emergency services says that there are at least 14 corpses in Rajprarop area, which cannot be retrieved because they get shot at by the army when they go near, and one of their crew has been killed. That would take the official death toll to 36.

The government says there are 500 "terrorists" in the protest site. Earlier, it said that it would use snipers to shoot "terrorists." The only terrorists are in the government, the Army and the palace.

Abhisit's government was NEVER elected. It is in place because of the military. So Red Shirt demands for democratic elections are totally legitimate. The Red Shirts have been unarmed and peaceful. It is the army that has turned Bangkok into a war zone.

Thai Red Shirt protesters carry a man who was wounded when police opened fire
Thai Red Shirt protesters carry a man who was wounded when police opened fire

The tyrants say that the Red Shirts are all determined to overthrow the monarchy, and therefore it is justifiable to kill them. So having a monarchy is an excuse to kill anyone who fights for democracy and social justice.

Various government spokespeople, including Abhisit's academic-for-hire Panitan Wattanayagorn and censorship boss Satit Wongnongtuay, continue to lie and lie again, claiming that troops only fire in self-defense. Yet all press reports and videos show indiscriminate shooting of unarmed civilians, including a 10-year-old boy, a paramedic and foreign news reporters.

Army snipers are hiding in buildings, and clearly none of them are at risk or being threatened in any way by protesters. Yet they just sit there and pick off unarmed civilians in the streets.

Fake human rights groups call on "both sides" to stop the violence. Yet it is only one side that is using lethal violence against unarmed pro-democracy demonstrators. Even Reporters Without Boarders demands that "both sides" guarantee the safety of reporters. How can Red Shirts guarantee anyone's safety when they are being murdered in cold blood?

Many so-called news reports write that troops fire on rioters. No one is rioting except the army. Others talk about "protests turning violent." It is not the protesters who are violent.

Unarmed pro-democracy protesters are being systematically murdered in order to keep Abhisit and his military-backed government in power. The king is silent, as usual. His only job, apart from counting his wealth, is to legitimize every bloody act that the army commits. Yet so-called analysts write that he has "held the country together."

The fact is that he has supported every crackdown on democracy. He is weak and spineless. That is why millions of Red Shirts are becoming Republicans.

The UN has just selected Thailand to be on the Human Rights Council. What a joke! But what can one expect from a body controlled by warmongers.

Red Shirts throughout the country are standing firm in the bloody fight for democracy, social justice and human dignity. I salute them!

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