Thailand: Red Shirts Back in the Streets

Written by Mong Palatino

On May 19, 2012, tens of thousands of Red Shirt protesters commemorated [1] the second anniversary of the army and police crackdown [2] on anti-government protesters in central Bangkok, Thailand. The May 2010 [3] street violence resulted in the deaths of more than 90 people. Many Red Shirt members are supporters of former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra who was ousted by a coup in 2006.

The violent dispersal of the Red Shirt protest contributed to the unpopularity of the government in 2010 which was at that time headed by Abhisit Vejjajiva. Abhisit’s party lost in the elections last year. Thailand’s incumbent Prime Minister is the younger sister [4] of Thaksin.

A video clip [11] of Robert Amsterdam’s speech during the rally. Amsterdam is the lawyer of Thaksin. Some netizens are critical to the activities of the Red Shirts:

@Rom Senakant [12]: sad group of people… They thought they are fighting for just cause but actually they are the being used by a crony ex PM Thaksin or Thug-Sin

@ric_lawes [13]: Reds calling for Justice http://bit.ly/Jv8Ien – simple fact – reds lay siege to the city and 91 people died. No reds no deaths.

@Agam_T [14]: Today, I’m celebrating 2nd anniversary of the END of #RedShirts arson and violence. May19th was the day we got our city back.

Thaksin’s appeal for unity is interpreted by some people as betrayal to the cause of the Red Shirts who are still demanding justice for those who were killed in 2010:

@freakingcat [15]: Are the Red shirts in Ratchprasong so brainwashed and cheered to Thaksin’s betrayal speech. 93 died for the greed of the billionaire

@steviegell [16]: Both Thaksin & his sister turned their backs on the red movement. Robert Amsterdam is trying to hide that fact from the reds. Bad form.

Tammy attended the rally and commented about the lack of change [17] in Thailand’s politics:

I just got back from the 2 year anniversary of the crack-down on the Red Shirts protest at Rajprasong, that 2 years ago caused bout 100 civilian death

The new constitution is poised to disappoint those who are looking for democracy, the lese majeste law, the root cause, of many injustices in Thailand, will likely be the same. The death and imprisonment of political prisoners, looks like it will be un-accounted for and not re-solved.

Meanwhile, a government investigation body concluded [18] that state forces are responsible for the deaths of 25 people in the 2010 crackdown.


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URL to article: http://globalvoicesonline.org/2012/05/21/thailand-red-shirts-back-in-the-streets-2/