By Giles Ji Ungpakorn
Update, 03.25 hrs Sunday, May 16, 2010, Bangkok time — Earlier on Saturday, unconfirmed reports indicated that Abhisit Vejjajiva’s soldiers had shot dead at least 50 people. Later, 22 named deaths were confirmed by the Erawan emergency centre, and 172 injured (including one Canadian, one Polish, one Burmese, one Liberian). But an official from the centre says that the real death toll is higher but cannot be reported at the moment.
Po-tek-tung emergency service official says that there are at least 14 corpses in the Ratchaprasong area which cannot be retrieved because of the danger of being shot at by the army; one of their crew has been killed. That would take the death toll to 36 (http://www.prachatai.net/journal/2010/05/29498).
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May 15, 2010 — Bangkok is bathed in blood, yet again. Unconfirmed reports indicate that Abhisit Vejjajiva’s soldiers have shot dead at least 50 people so far since. The latest military attacks on protesters resumed on May 13. Hundreds have been injured. The government and military say there are 500 “terrorists” at the protest site in Bangkok. Earlier they said that they would use snipers to shoot “terrorists”.
The only terrorists are in the government, the army and the palace.
The tyrants say that the Red Shirts are 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 are only firing in self defence. Yet all press reports show indiscriminate shooting of unarmed civilians, including a 10-year-old boy, a paramedic and foreign news reporters.
Splits are appearing in the security forces with reports of some police or army units returning fire with the advancing troops. This is indeed a civil war situation and the government cannot hope to control the situation. Red Shirts are determined to stand firm. Millions of people are extremely angry with the government, the military and the monarchy.
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 Borders 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 fired 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 legitimise every bloody act that the army commits. Yet so-called analysts write that he has “held the country together”. The fact is he has supported every crack down on democracy. He is weak and spineless. That is why millions of Red Shirts are becoming republicans.
The United Nations has just selected Thailand to be on the Human Rights Committee. 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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May 16, 2010 — Some basic facts about the violence in Bangkok
1. Abhisit’s government was NEVER elected. It came from a process started by the 2006 military coup. That is why they are very afraid of an election.
2. The Red Shirts are a mass movement of the poor. They want democratic elections. It is totally legitimate to stage peaceful protests for this demand, even if it disrupts a shopping centre for two months. Military coups, undemocratic governments and censorship are illegitimate.
3. Abhisit and the army turned Bangkok into a war zone and started the violence. They have indiscriminately killed unarmed protesters by using snipers to shoot at civilians. Nearly 40 are already dead from the actions of the army in the last few days.
4. Dissolving parliament and holding democratic elections would put an end to the protests. This is what any democratic government would do in this situation. That is what any responsible leader would do. Return power to the people. So why is Abhisit refusing and answering with live bullets?
Judge news reports and the commitment to the truth by journalists on the basis of these four points.
Judge foreign governments by their public positions on Thailand in this crisis.
Judge academics and NGOs on their positions.
[Reprinted from Links international journal of socialist renewal. Giles Ji Ungpakorn is a Thai socialist currently in exile in Britain. He is a member of Left Turn Thailand and maintains a blog at wdpress.blog.co.uk.]