United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD)
19 May 2019 was the nineth anniversary of the crackdown on the 'red shirt' protest on 19 May 2010. Gatherings were held at Ratchaprasong Intersection in memory of the dead, while justice for the victims of military violence continues to be denied.
On May 22, 2014 the Thai military, led by General Prayuth Chan-ocha, staged a coup d’état to end several months of political and civil chaos in Thailand. At its very basic level, the chaos was caused by an on-going conflict between the so-called ‘red-shirts’, followers of the government of Yingluck Shinawatra’s Pheu Thai party and comprising the rural voters forming a majority of the electorate, and the ‘yellow-shirts’, an alliance between the military, the Thai elite, and the middle-class Democrat party of Abhisit Vejjajiva with a strong following in Bangkok.
“Today, the struggle is not over yet. This mother will struggle until the end...I believe that the perpetrators will not get away,” said Payao Akhad, mother of Kamolkate Akhad, a medic who was killed during the 2010 crackdown on red-shirt protesters. She spoke while lighting incense for her late daughter at Ratchaprasong intersection in central Bangkok on 31 August 2017.
A key leader of the anti-establishment red shirts has vowed to bring justice to the victims of the 2010 crackdown after the country’s top court dismissed murder charges against former Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva and Suthep Thaugsuban, his former deputy.
When Ajarn Tum (Sudsanguan) Suthisorn was released from prison, Ajarn Charnvit Kasetsiri greeted her with a public message on Facebook that read, “Welcome back from the small prison to the large prison” (he did not use these exact words, but this was the gist). I gave my knee a loud slap when I read these lines. That is exactly right.
Survivors of the massacre seven years ago of red-shirt protesters by the Thai government are sharing their memories under the hashtag #10AprilWhereAreYou. With no state or military officials ever prosecuted for their role in the political violence that took more than 90 lives in April-May 2010, the stories aim to keep alive memories of those who died and of the state’s role in those civilian casualties.
2017 marks the 7th anniversary of military operations against red shirt protesters in April 2017. Though many years have passed, justice has yet to come for the dead and injured victims of state-sanctioned political violence.
The Thai authorities have arrested nine red shirts after seizing military weapons from nine different locations in central and northeastern Thailand, claiming the weapons were intended to be used to assassinate the junta leader. On 18 March 2017, a combined force of police and military searched a house in Pathum Thani Province belonging to Thirachai Utarawichian, an anti-establishment red shirt linked to Wuthipong Kachathamkun, aka Kotee, a fugitive prominent hard-core red-shirt leader.
A police officer has accused a member of the anti-establishment red shirt of defamation after he posted comments to complain about having his house searched without a court warrant. On 15 March 2017, Boribun Kiangwarangkun, a member of a red shirt group in Ban Pong District of Ratchaburi Province, reported to the local police station in the district to listen to accusations against him.
The Supreme Court has sentenced a comedian turned red-shirt activist and politician to two years’ imprisonment for lèse majesté. On 7 March 2017, at the Criminal Court on Ratchadapisek Rd., Bangkok, the Supreme Court sentenced Yotwarit Chuklom, aka. Jeng Dokjik, to two years in prison without suspending the jail term. The court found Yotwarit guilty of offences under Article 112 of the Criminal Code, the lèse majesté law, for a speech and a gesture at a red-shirt United Front for Democracy Against Dictatorship (UDD) rally on 28 March 2010.