Military summon students commemorating 1976 student massacre

Military officers summoned university students in northern Thailand for a discussion after they commemorated the 1976 student massacre, saying that the event was political incitement.

According to Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR), military officers from the 37th Army Division in the northern province of Chiang Rai on Tuesday, 6 October 2015, contacted Chiang Rai Rajabhat University, requesting to have words with all the students who commemorated the 1976 student massacre.

The officers asked university staff to inform the students to come for a discussion at the 37th Army Division Base on Wednesday. After negotiations, the students told the officers that two representatives from the group would go see the officers.

At 9:30 am, Thichanon Pitakpracha and Somchai Kuwattanasakul, two representatives from the group, went to the military base to meet the officers.

They reported that at the base the Deputy Commander of the 37th Army Division, 3-4 other military officers, and a policeman were present during the talks.

The officers asked in detail about the reasons why they decided to commemorate the 1976 student massacre and if the group has links with the anti-junta student activist groups in Bangkok and in the northeastern province of Khon Kaen.

The two students mentioned that the officers told them that certain messages that which attached on a board with post-its during the event to commemorate the student massacre on Tuesday morning are political incitements.

The officers told them that they will monitor the activities of the students closely before letting them go without having to sign any document after about an hour of discussion.

The 1976 student massacre on 6 October 1976 was a violent attack on students and protesters at Thammasat University while the students were demonstrating against the return of the former military dictator, Field Marshal Thanom Kittikachorn. By the official count, forty-six people died in the attack, during which protesters were shot and beaten, and their bodies mutilated. However, many unofficial sources claim that more than a hundred were killed.

Students of Chiang Rai Rajabhat University commemorating the 1976 student massacre at their campus on 6 October 2015 (Picture courtesy of TLHR)

 

* Prachatai apologises for mistakes on the year of the 1976 student massacre