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  1. #1
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    One year on : The long, Agonising wait for justice

    The long, Agonising wait for justice
    10/04/2011

    One year on, families of troops and red shirts killed in the April 10 clashes say they search in vain for closure. As a state inquiry into the mayhem stumbles, victims are suing the state for injury and loss of life

    Families of two victims of last April's clashes with the red shirts have finally given up hope of justice, cremating the bodies of their loved ones in despair of the government ever finding or punishing the culprits.


    WITHOUT ANSWERS: Members of the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship and their relatives say that red shirt protesters were gunned down by security forces at Khok Wua intersection last year.

    Two bodies of red shirt demonstrators killed last April 10 _ Toedsak Fungklinchan, 29, and Saming Taengpeth, 49 _ were finally cremated on Sunday and Tuesday last week, respectively.

    Their relatives had kept the bodies for almost a year, hoping that authorities would be able to find out who killed them and bring the wrongdoers to justice.

    With the inquiry into the clashes having made "no progress", they have now cremated the bodies regardless.

    A year after the deadly clashes between red shirt demonstrators and security forces on April 10, relatives of the victims still grieve while they continue their struggle for justice.

    Twenty six people _ five security personnel and 21 civilians _ were killed when an operation to "reclaim" the red shirt demonstration sites on Ratchadamnoen Avenue was launched.

    Since investigations into the deaths have stalled, relatives of 15 of the protesters killed and one of the injured in the April 10 clashes have decided to file civil suits against three state agencies _ the ministries of finance and defence and the Royal Thai Army.

    In the case, filed on Friday with assistance from the 111 Thai Rak Thai Foundation, the plaintiffs demand 39.8 million baht in compensation for injuries and loss of lives.


    NO REGRETS: Santipong Injan, 25, lost the sight in his right eye after being shot by a rubber bullet on April 10.

    Santipong Injan, 25, an injured red shirt demonstrator, is one of the 16 plaintiffs.

    The English graduate from Mae Fah Luang University lost his right eye after being shot with a rubber bullet while taking part in the demonstration.

    "I'm undecided whether to forgive the person who did this to me. I need somebody to stand up and take responsibility for the mayhem," he said.

    Mr Santipong said he was shot at 5pm while he was washing tear gas from his eyes at Phan Fa Bridge.

    Mr Santipong had to shuffle between Vajira Hospital, a specialist eye clinic and his Wongsawang residence before he could get used to a single eye.

    He was offered a job at the pro-red shirt Voice TV channel as a translator but the doctor warned that working with a computer could be harmful to his remaining good eye, so he decided to look for another job.

    He and his girlfriend instead recently launched a business in Hua Hin.
    Despite the ordeal, Mr Santipong remains optimistic about his life.

    "My parents and I keep consoling each other. At least I lost my eye for a noble cause," he said.

    If he could go back to that day, Mr Santipong said he would still be there to fight alongside fellow red shirts.


    CANíT BRING HIM BACK: Thankamol Khamnoi, 29, shows a picture of her 23-year-old brother Kriengkrai Khamnoi, who was shot at Ratchadamnoen Nok Avenue on April 10.

    "I do not regret being there. It's the government which should be regretful and responsible for the losses," he said.

    Thankamol Khamnoi, 29, lost her brother Kriengkrai Khamnoi, 23, who was shot about 3.30pm on Ratchadamnoen Nok Avenue.

    She said her brother and other protesters believed there would be no violence as the government had said that troops would use only shields and batons to control the crowd.

    Ms Thankamol said she should have heeded the warning from a soldier relative, who told the family a few days before that soldiers would use real weapons to disperse red shirt protesters.

    Kriengkrai died that evening at Vajira Hospital from bullet wounds.

    Ms Thankamol angrily rejects authorities' claims that there were black-clad militants among the protesters.

    "My brother was killed in broad daylight. His friends dragged him out of the military zone.

    "There is no evidence of men in black," she said.

    She was also upset by the state's handling of her brother's case, which is not on the Department of Special Investigation's list of special cases.

    "Why does the DSI not link my brother's deaths to the military? How could it not be a result of the military crackdown when he was killed in broad daylight?" she said.

    Kriengkrai's parents were still grieving over the death of their only son, who was cremated at a temple in his hometown in Roi Et's Phanom Phrai on April 14 last year.

    Kriengkrai's family has received 400,000 baht from the Labour Ministry; 50,000 baht from the Royal Household Bureau; 100,000 baht from former prime minister Somchai Wongsawat; 100,000 baht from the Justice Ministry; and another 50,000 baht from the red shirts.

    Another prominent case that has not yet been resolved was the death of Reuters cameraman Hiroyoki Muramoto, who was killed at Khok Wua intersection on April 10.

    Reuters yesterday issued a statement saying it was discouraged that the circumstances of his death are still unknown a year later.

    "Hiro's family and Reuters colleagues deserve to know how this tragedy occurred and who was behind it," said Stephen Adler, Reuters editor-in-chief.

    The UDD will hold a mass rally at the Democracy Monument today to mark the first anniversary of the April 10 tragedy.

    bangkokpost.com

  2. #2
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    the red protesters really need to take their responsibilities, but so typically Thai, they can't

    when you participate in illegal and armed activities, this is what happens

    they should be mad with their leaders, not the Army or the government

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    Quote Originally Posted by Butterfly View Post
    the red protesters really need to take their responsibilities, but so typically Thai, they can't

    when you participate in illegal and armed activities, this is what happens

    they should be mad with their leaders, not the Army or the government
    with this comment I agree Bfly. Same applies to the yellow shirt protests that so adversely affected the country. I'm not specifically a government supporter but in the same respect I am not in support of disruption of the operations of a country and adversely affect it's peoples and economy. A Kadafie type government is different...
    "Don't Sweat the Small Stuff....and it is all small stuff"

  4. #4
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    While it is unfortunate that violence erupted in the end game of the Red Shirt Protests - It came after a lot of measured attempts by Thailand Authorities to bring order to their capital city. Business activity in BKK was badly impacted, Tourism was given two black eyes, and TL was embarrassed badly on the world stage - for the inability to restore order. Red shirts rhetoric slowly transformed these peaceful "paid" protesters - into a hardened group who's tactic's of tossing blood, attacking news papers and other media - boarded on anarchy, and were far from passive protest activities.

    It is well to recognize that a large majority of the Red Shirt's were simply hired in and paid to protest. At the time of the mass movements and swelling of their ranks - The window contractor, completing a window job on my wifes house - Had pulled all the screens off and taken them back to his shop - to modify the rubber sealing. Screen doors as well. He was supposed modify the sealing points return with them in 3 days. He never showed up.

    After a week, the wife had her brother check on the guy's shop (near his town)... The guy closed his shop and moved temporarily to Bkk with his family to join the protest lines. His extended family informed my wifes brother - the guy would not be back till the protest was over. He was gone for months - leaving us without screens on our windows and no screen doors. The guy could have cared less about his customer commitment - having already been paid for 90 percent of the job. Wifes brother said that our window guy received a lucrative offer to protest..... Obviously making more money protesting there than he did with his window shop business.

    The previous years Red Rally - A make shift recruiter, who was a resident in my town, Got 20 + volunteers to commit to the cause and take transport down to Bkk. The going rate was 500 B / day - for the protest duration. That is significantly more than the 160 B/Day for agricultural work, and 200 B/Day for skilled construction work available here. Some of those who left town pooled cheap accommodations there, others packed tents, and many stayed with family members there in BKK, while enjoying their new job. When the rally was over and they came back. It became an angry line trying to collect their money, as the paying person attempted to pay less than promised. The "recruiter" disappeared for another week and didnt return to town - till he had the money in hand. These protesters made demands for their money, and made threats for retaliation because he had given these folks a payment figure per day and they were holding him to it.

    Sorry - but in light of seeing these two separate incidents - My conclusion is that this Red Shirt movement was not a great ground swell grass roots movement - The protesters were political mercenaries, out for financial gain. Just as, when the protest was ended - the programmed destruction of buildings and major retail outlets in the city..... It was organized, planned, and paid for. Getting a pound of flesh from some business interests that probably were not friends of the movement financier.

    Every election I have heard about, regardless of public position at stake, votes are always paid for. The locals love elections, because its free money from almost every candidate - palmed in private by campaign workers who visit locals in advance of the election. Is a way of life here. Hard to stamp out, regardless of any laws passed - People want the hand out. TL has a long way to go - to reach the level of a real functioning democracy. Everything political is for sale. And it smacks money buying influence over and over in a corruption cycle that is very difficult to stop.

    While I am against violence, the Red Shirt movement appeared to become militarized and it ran through the patience of the government. You can be sure that the TMA (monetary authority) has tracked payments to uncover who was paid and what mechanisms were used. Just as the road checks on Hywy 2 - recorded all the license plate numbers and ID's of those joining the protest. With the goverment seeking to connect names to the capital flows that fund the movement. People being paid for voicing a political view isnt really a political movement. While government intelligence gathering in this manor seems a bit draconian - there is little evidence the government has railroaded anyone. With strong evidence of out of country financing behind the movement - there is justification to want to trace its sources.

    It is well to note that grieving and injured Red Shirt family members are looking to seek monetary gain through legal redress. It remains a money game. First establish blame and then seek redress through the courts. While its white washed as "seeking justice" - Its all about the money - which is politics as usual in TL.



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