Police question activist on rally for victims of April-May 2010 political violence

Despite warnings from the police, families of victims of the violent military crackdown during April-May 2010 political violence vow to go on with their rally to call for justice after the authorities ruled not prosecute those who authorized the crackdown.

Payao Akhad, mother of Kamolkate Akhad, a volunteer medic who was killed on 19 May 2010 at Wat Pathum Wanaram Temple in central Bangkok during the military crackdown on the anti-establishment red shirt protesters, reported that she recently received a phone call from the police, asking whether she had asked the authorities for permission to stage a rally on Wednesday.

Last week, Resistant Citizen Facebook Page, an anti-junta political group, posted a schedule of the rally on Wednesday, 6 January 2016, to call for justice for victims of the April-May 2010 crackdown after the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) last week concluded that Abhisit Vejjajiva, former Democrat Party Prime Minister, Suthep Thaugsuban, his former Deputy, and Gen Anupong Paochinda, the former Army Chief, were not guilty in ordering the 2010 military crackdown.

The rally will be led by Payao, Pansak Srithep, a pro-democracy activist and the father of a boy killed by the military during the 2010 political violence, and other relatives of those who were killed during the crackdown.  

The participants will gather at Wat Pathum Wanaram Temple at 3 pm on Wednesday before marching to the 14 October Monument on Ratchadamnoen Rd. to light candles and read statements.

Payao said that despite the phone call from the police, she and the others will go on with the rally.

On 29 December 2015, Sansern Poljieak, Secretary-General of the Office of the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC), announced that the NACC has reached a resolution to withdraw corruption and malfeasance allegations against Abhisit, Suthep, Gen Anupong, and other military officers under his command.

Those three and others were accused of malfeasance for authorizing military and police officers to reclaim several venues in Bangkok city centre from demonstrators of the United Front for Democracy Against Dictatorship (UDD), the main red-shirt faction, between April-May 2010. More than 90 people died and over 2,000 people were injured during the military crackdown on red-shirt protesters.

The NACC concluded that the 2010 red-shirt protest was not peaceful and that there were armed militants among the demonstrators. Therefore, the Centre for the Resolution of the Emergency Situation (CRES), an agency formed to handle the 2010 red-shirt protesters with Suthep as Director, had to authorise armed personnel to reclaim the demonstration venues in Bangkok.

Although the military and police officers had to carry arms to protect themselves during the crackdown in accordance with ‘international standards’, if it is proven later that the officers used weapons ‘unnecessarily’ resulting in the deaths of demonstrators, the officers and their commanders shall be charged on an ‘individual basis’.

The Department of Special Investigation (DSI) will carry out investigations of military officers who allegedly used weapons ‘unnecessarily’ resulting in loss of life, NACC added.