‘Those who were killed here were like brothers and sisters, so I don’t want them to be forgotten. At least, it should be remembered that people were killed here, not just at Ratchaprasong and Phan Fah,’ said a red shirt at Bon Kai on Rama IV Road.
Toward the end of the red-shirt rallies in May last year, during the 6-day encirclement of the Ratchaprasong area by military troops, deadly clashes broke out in several nearby places including Din Daeng, Ratchaprarop, Makkasan and Bon Kai on Rama IV Rd, which claimed 57 lives.
15 were killed at Bon Kai, including 4 local residents.
Saowarak Bunya, 43, secretary of the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship in Pathumwan District, or Red Bon Kai for short, told the People’s Information Centre that she wanted to hold a merit making ceremony for the dead in order to remind the public that many people had been killed there.
She said that before her group was formed members of her community would go to join red-shirt rallies after work, but they went separately and were not aware that others from their community were also there. When they were in the community, they would not talk about politics or let others know their political views. But now things have changed, she said.
This group of red shirts was formed after the bloody Songkran rallies in 2009. Songrak Nitayachit, or Ad, head of the group, joined the first UDD political training session, and afterwards helped form the group which now includes people from various neighbourhoods in the area.
After the group was formed and activities were held, people started to get the courage to show that they were red, Ad said.
However, his group is still small compared to other red-shirt groups. They try to set up red-shirt groups in other communities and build alliances among non-red shirts – a challenging task because Pathumwan District has been the turf of the Democrat Party.
The group plans to hold an activity to remember the dead on 6 March, and will invite other red-shirt groups to come. Money raised at the activity will be given to relatives of the dead and the injured.
Ad hopes that this will inspire red shirts in other areas to initiate activities on their own, without waiting for the UDD leaders.
They plan to raise funds for the activity through a traditional Thai Buddhist ‘Pha Pa’ceremony, seeking donations from red-shirt groups in other areas and provinces.
The group will ensure the transparency of the fund raising by publicly announcing on that day the names of donors and the amounts of donations received to prevent problems which have arisen in some previous cases.
Deaths at Bon Kai
13 May 2010
1 (22.00 hrs) Chartchai Chalao, 25, Bangkok taxi driver from Surin, shot in the head
2 (14.00 hrs) Bunmee Rermsuk, 71, Bon Kai resident, shot in the stomach
3 (14.30 hrs) Inplang Thetsawong, 34, Bangkok taxi driver from Ubon Ratchathani, shot in the chest
4 (18.00 hrs) Saneh Nillueng, 48, Bangkok taxi driver, resident of Lumphini Police Flats, shot in the chest
5 (17.00 hrs) Mana Sanprasert, 21, resident of Bon Kai, volunteer of Po Tek Tueng Foundation, shot in the head
6 (18.00 hrs) Warin Wongsanit, 28, from Samut Prakan, shot in the back through the heart
7 (19.45 hrs) Pornsawan Nakhachai, 23, employee of a hotel in Sukhumvit from Roi Et, shot in the stomach
8 (24.00 hrs) Wongsakorn Plangsri, 41, from Si Sa Ket, shot in the chest
9 (9.30 hrs) Somchai Prasuwan, 43, from Yasothon, shot in the head
10 (15.00 hrs) Wuthichai Warakham, 21, car mechanic in Bangkok, from Amnat Charoen, shot in the stomach from behind.
11 (15.30 hrs) Kiattikhun Chatweerasakul, 25, motorcycle taxi driver from Samut Prakan, shot in the chest
12 (15.18 hrs) Prachuab Prachuabsuk, 42, employee in Bangkok, from Surin, shot in the chest
13 (19.00 hrs) Chaleao Deeruenrom, 28, driver of a company in Bangkok, from Buriram, shot in the chest
14 (19.00 hrs) Samai Thadkaew, 35, security guard from Si Sa Ket and a resident of Bon Kai, shot in the back
15 (10.30 hrs) Suphan Thumthong, 49, from Si Sa Ket, shot in the head