Red-shirt side event

On 19 May, groups of red shirts under the banner of Democracy Networks held activities to mark the first anniversary of the crackdown in front of Lumpini Park, performing traditional rituals to curse the masterminds who ordered the killings, and campaigning for the release of political prisoners and the repeal of the lèse majesté law.

About 500-600 red shirts joined the activities.  Traditional Thai rituals were performed which included burning chilli and salt and cursing the killers in regional dialects as well as in Cambodian.  They had to resort to this because other methods had not worked, the activists said.

Academics, including Suthachai Yimprasert and Suda Rangupan from Chulalongkorn University, spoke to the red shirts, explaining the need to repeal Article 112 of the Criminal Code, or lèse majesté law, which had been used as a political tool to suppress dissidents, and using as examples the cases of Surachai Danwatthananusorn, Somyos Phrueksakasemsuk and others.

It was announced that the Red Siam group would hold a rally for the release of political prisoners in front of Bangkok Remand Prison on 22 May at 4 pm.

Tables were set up next to the stage to collect signatures in a campaign to repeal Article 112 and three security laws including the Emergency Decree, Internal Security Act and Martial Law.  10,000 signatures are required under the 2007 Constitution.

There were musical performances and a drama which narrated the incidents of 13-19 May last year.  Some participants drew images and wrote messages on the pavement.  Some shouted ‘People died here.’

The Democracy Networks debuted on 3 April to campaign for the repeal of Article 112 and the release of political prisoners.  It consists of groups of red shirts from several provinces, 24 June Democracy, Red Siam, East Red, Social Move, Students Federation of Thailand, etc.