Victims, relatives and participants of the Black May 1992 incident attended the 28th commemoration of the mass protests that resulted in the overthrow of a military government. The remains of the dead were temporarily transferred awaiting the anticipated end of construction of their memorial within 90 days, after 7 years of work.
The May 1992 Memorial (Source: The BMA Public Works)
On 17 May, the Committee of Relatives of the Black May 1992 Victims, including participants in the Black May incident and relatives, attended the annual commemoration at the Phreutsapha Prachatham Memorial, Santiphon Park, Ratchadamnoen Avenue, Bangkok.
Among the attendees are Adul Khieoboriboon, the committee chairperson, Jatuporn Prompan, former head of the red shirts’ United Front for Democracy Against Dictatorship or , and Pipob Thongchai, a leading figure in the yellow shirts’ People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD).
This year marks the 28th anniversary of the Black May incident when people took to the streets to protest against the military dictatorship of Gen Suchinda Kraprayoon. 52 people were officially confirmed killed during the military crackdown while about 3,500 were arrested and allegedly tortured.
This year, the committee transferred the remains of the deceased, which were to be buried under the memorial, to Wat Chana Songkhram temple. Construction of the memorial has been delayed for more than 15 years since it was first mooted.
Adul said that the long delay was caused by objections from the Krung Rattanakosin Committee, the entity that oversees construction in the old royal capital island. After construction was approved, budget deficiencies prolonged the delay.
However, he said that this year the committee had received enough money to finish construction and a contractor is already in place. The project must be finished within 90 days. Construction of Santiphon Park, overseen by the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration, is expected to be completed within 60 days.
The construction of the memorial was initiated in 2013 but progressed slowly. At present, only the landmark sculpture is in place on top of a metal frame.
The committee also published a statement urging Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha to consider resigning, and calling for the state to properly use economic and social stimulus funds to help affected people, not to assist capitalist groups, and to strictly stamp out corruption.
Jatuporn said that the victims’ relatives are now pushing for completion of the memorial and also setting standards of compensation that can be used in other political protests, regardless of faction.
“All the dead and injured should receive equal compensation, going back to 14 October 1973, 6 October 1976, May 1992 up to the protests of the PAD and the PDRC (People's Democratic Reform Committee) [the protest group which paved the way for the 2014 coup d’état] because no one should be killed for expressing a standpoint on democracy.” said Jatuporn.