January 7, 2016 – Relatives of the victims of a military crackdown in 2010 gathered in Bangkok to rally against the Government’s decision to dismiss charges against former prime minister Abhisit Vejjajiva.
The protest, which went on for months, saw the military using force against civilians, most of whom were ‘Red Shirts’, the name given to those who were supporters of former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra.
Thailand’s National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) had decided to charge Mr Abhisit, former deputy prime minister Suthep and former army chief Anupong for their role in ordering the crackdown. But its investigative sub-committee decided the use of force was necessary, due to the disruptive nature of the protesters. The government then dismissed charges against Mr Abhisit.
Mr Abhisit’s government mobilised more than 60,000 soldiers to end the protests, which saw 90 people die and 2,000 people injured.
A government enquiry in 2011 found authorities used more than 110,000 bullets, including more than 2,000 sniper rounds.
“The NACC decision to dismiss the case against Abhisit was a disgrace,” said Pansak Srithep, father of an activist that was killed in the crackdown. “So we, as relatives of victims of the crackdown in 2010 are gathering to remember the dead and fight for justice.”
Payao Akhard, the mother of a nurse who was killed, said that she “came here today because I believe those who lost their lives in 2010 would not accept the NACC’s shameful decision.”
She added that “their souls would encourage me and others to bring justice against those who committed wrongdoings, as well as those who try to clear their names”.
The relatives defied a government ban on political gatherings by marching to the Oct 14 monument, a place that commemorates the public’s fight against the country’s military dictatorship of the 1970s.