Authorities interrupt commemoration for teenager killed during red shirt crackdown

Uniformed and plainclothes officers have fenced off a plaque commemorating a teenager who was shot dead seven years ago during the government’s crackdown on red shirt protesters. Officers loitered around as loved ones commemorated the boy’s passing.

On the evening of 15 May 2017, family and friends gathered on a footpath on Bangkok’s Ratchaprarop Road to remember Samaphan ‘Cher’ Sithep, who was fatally shot there seven years ago when the authorities were attempting to end the rally of the United Front for Democracy Against Dictatorship (known as the ‘red shirts’). Samaphan was only 17 years old.

Before the commemoration began, officials brought a four-sided fence to block off the plaque that had been installed into the footpath to mark the point at which Samaphan was shot. Scores of both uniformed and plainclothes officers stayed to observe the commemoration event.

An hour later, Phansak Srithep, Samaphan’s father, was able to clean the plaque and surround it with lit candles and flowers, before going to eat a meal with his family in commemoration of his son.

Seven years ago in the Ratchaprarop area, Suphachip Chunlathat, a 36-year-old taxi driver, was also fatally shot some ten metres from the point where Samaphan lost his life.

Nobody has ever been indicted for the murders of either Samaphan or Suphachip.

(Photos from Resistant Citizens)

The red shirts were a diverse political movement encompassing both supporters of former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra and anti-coup and pro-election demonstrators.