Defence minister scolds mourners of April-May 2010 political violence victims

Families of victims of the military crackdown in April-May 2010 gathered in central Bangkok to demand justice and condemn the recent ruling by the authorities not to not prosecute those who authorised the crackdown.

At 1:40 pm today, 6 January 2016, Payao Akhad, mother of Kamolkate Akhad, a medic who was killed on 19 May 2010 at Wat Pathum Wanaram Temple in central Bangkok during the military crackdown on the red-shirt protesters, Nattapat Akhad, her son, Pansak Srithep, a pro-democracy activist whose son was killed by the military during the same political violence, and Wannakiet Chusuwan, a pro-democracy activist, gathered at Wat Pathum Wanaram Temple.

Amid the presence of at least 30 police officers, the four lit incense to pray for the victims of the April-May 2010 military crackdown on demonstrators of the United Front for Democracy Against Dictatorship (UDD), the main red-shirt faction, which resulted in at least 90 deaths and 2,000 injured.

After staying briefly at the temple to mourn for the victims, the four started a march to the 14 October Memorial on Ratchadamnoen Rd. where they planned to read out a statement at 6 pm to call for justice for the victims.

As the four did not violate the junta’s National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) Order No. 3/2015, which prohibits a political gathering of five or more persons, police officers did not prevent the march, but closely monitored the group.

At about 4 pm, however, the police asked the four to change the rally route and prevented members of the press and others from following them.

Before the rally started, Matichon Online reported that Gen Prawit Wongsuwan, Defence Minister and Deputy Prime Minister, expressed disapproval of the rally.

The Defence Minister said that he did not want the rally to take place because the government is already trying to solve the nation’s problems ‘sustainably’ to pave the way for national reform.

On 29 December 2015, 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 Vejjajiva, former Democrat Party Prime Minister, Suthep Thaugsuban, his former Deputy, and Gen Anupong Paochinda, the former Army Chief.

Those three and others were accused of malfeasance for authorizing military and police officers to reclaim several venues in Bangkok city centre from red shirt demonstrators between April-May 2010.

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.

Read related news: NACC says Suthep, Abhisit not guilty of April-May 2010 political violence

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