2010 Thaksin's Terrorism
Militant Red Army
Public Autopsies of April 10, 2010 (1)
( Last edit 2010-04-19 )
Autopsies of April 10, 2010 (1)
THAILAND: U.S. Respects the Right of Freedom of Expression, but Not Through Forcefully Entering Government Buildings
QUESTION: Can we go back to political upheaval halfway around the world? Do you have any concerns, comments about the situation in Thailand and the state of emergency that’s been declared there?
MR. CROWLEY: We respect the right of freedom of expression. However, forcibly entering government buildings is not an appropriate means of protest. Everyone has the right of assembly and to protest peacefully, but we hope that differences can be resolved through democratic institutions and not through violence.
The United States has criticised the Wednesday's (April 7, 2010) raid into the Parliament by the pro-Thaksin protesters, saying the move was not a suitable means of protest. US Secretary of State's Assistant Secretary Philip Crowley said in a daily press briefing that the country respect the right of freedom of expression.
"However, forcibly entering government buildings is not an appropriate means of protest. Everyone has the right of assembly and to protest peacefully," he said.
The US hoped that differences can be resolved through democratic institutions and not through violence.
Red shirts protesters, led by Arismun Pongruengrong, stormed into the House building on Wednesday (April 7, 2010), claiming that they wanted to meet Deputy PM Suthep Thaugsuban to ask why he ordered two fire bombs to be thrown into the protesters.
During the raid, Arisamun was accompanied by Pheu Thai MPs Karun Hosakun and Sunai Jullapongsathorn. The red shirts' guards also snatched weapons from a security guard of Suthep and beat him.
Troops 'limited casualties' by firing at armed reds: medic
By The Nation on April 19, 2010
If soldiers had not returned fire at armed men who shot repeatedly at retreating ambulances full of comrades wounded in clashes near Khok Wua intersection on April 10, there would have been many more soldiers killed, an online memoir by an Army medical officer on duty there has claimed.
The unnamed lieutenant also expressed thanks to civilians friendly with soldiers during and after the clashes - ranging from a grandmother who offered an inhaler to unconscious soldiers, a young girl who shuttled around giving toffees to the troops, and staff from a pizza shop who fanned collapsed soldiers with pizza boxes.
The officer, commander of a medical platoon stationed in the area, insisted no soldiers fired real bullets at demonstrators without good reason. They provided only covering fire when troops were dispersed by the mob and their ambulances were retreating.
Real bullets were fired earlier, but into the air when the clash began. Soldiers in the defensive formation used only what they could to deter the angry mobs and to defend themselves. The final non-lethal weapons to be used were rubber bullets, fired only from shotguns, he said in his memoir. It has been widely circulated on Facebook and other online platforms.
The doctor wrote that the lethal attack from the red shirts came after a smoke grenade was thrown at the troops, as a smoke screen. It was followed by something new to him - an M79 launched grenade. After a second grenade exploded, the commander ordered a retreat.
Unit staff counted fifteen M79 grenades used against troops, plus two hand grenades. A soldier saw a laser beam from a nearby building, targeting an Army command that was later shot up.
The lieutenant's unit was not in a large group and might have been missed by the attackers, he wrote.
Soldiers welcomed on Silom
Pongphon Sarnsamak The Nation on April 20, 2010
By day, Silom Road is the business capital of the country - crowded with office workers and company employees. At night, it's one of the capital's playgrounds, as tourists and fun-seekers head to Patpong, the red-light district known around the world for its bars and night bazaar.
But currently at least five military companies have been deployed on and around Silom. Some troops are stationed in Lumpini Park and others at Sala Daeng BTS station.
A group of red-shirt protesters has, meanwhile, taken positions near King Rama VI in front of Lumpini Park.
"I was stunned when I saw so many soldiers standing around Sala Daeng station," said Charindhorn Paungsab, 33, who works at a private company, after she got off the Skytrain.
"I was a little nervous about the situation," she said. "Today was different from anything I've seen."Charindhorn, who came to Silom to call on customers, said she believed the soldiers would control the crowd peacefully and without violence. Rolls of barbed wire have been laid to block the road and Sala Daeng station stairways to prevent red-shirt protesters and strangers entering the area.
Soldiers are equipped with guns - some loaded with live ammunition, others with blanks. They insisted they would only shoot in the air if threatened by protesters and would not aim at them. All were equipped with protective vests. They stood on corners, in front of banks, small shops, and were stationed at roads such as Patpong and Silom Soi 2, known for their go-go bars.
Military trucks, cars, and four long-range acoustic devices (LRAD) were deployed along Silom, for crowd control. White vans carried heavily armed groups of soldiers into position around the area.
Some troops used a military truck equipped with loudspeakers to tell Silom residents they had come to protect them from a group of persons who could cause unexpected incidents and violence.
"Don't be afraid of us. We have come here to protect you from unknown persons who have bad intentions," a 24-year-old military officer, Wanthanee Samanmitr said.
She said she was trying to inform residents about the situation and gain their support for the soldiers and police to keep an eye out for "strangers".
Some Silom office workers and locals supported them and waved national flags greeting soldiers. They also shouted "Rak Chart" or "Love the Nation" to people walking by. Residents and business people who live and work around Silom area went shopping at the supermarket for water and snacks to give to soldiers and police guarding the area.
A 57-year-old Silom resident, Lek Pipithsombat, stood at the corner of one Silom Soi asking people to donate money to buy water, fresh towels and snacks for the troops. "I just want Silom to stay at peace," he said. "We want to thank the soldiers for helping us."
Wiwat Pongkasem, a 58-year-old restaurant owner, said the red-shirt protesters should not block Silom Road as it was the main artery of the national economy. He said his customers worried about the situation and some were not visiting the restaurant as they feared violence.
A 35-year-old fish seller, Santiphab Haphan, said he was afraid he could not make money from selling fish as his customers were staying away. "I think they're afraid of the situation," he said.
Noi Phosri, a 51-year-old nurse from Chulalongkorn University, pleaded for the reds to stop demonstrating near the hospital as the noise was troubling patients who needed rest, particularly those recovering from operations.
Another crackdown, more bloodshed expected
By Sopon Onkgara, The Nation April 20, 2010
All was set as of yesterday afternoon for "operation payback" by teams of troops to disperse the red shirts who are still occupying Rajprasong intersection. But there had been no action as of press time. The forces were still awaiting the final green light from Army chief General Anupong Paochinda.
Maybe the plan has to be fine-tuned to ensure minimal loss of life. Casualties must be avoided on both sides. If there is to be some collateral damage, the level must be contained to avoid a backlash.
But the military obviously does not want the bitter events of April 10 to recur. The heavy losses suffered during the security operation in the Rajdamnoen area were a disaster, as well as a tactical blunder, from the military point of view.
The upcoming mission is inevitable now that Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva has given the go-ahead order by appointing the Army chief to handle the task - despite the PM's extreme reluctance to command a military crackdown on the red shirts.
The general, due to retire at the end of September, has to choose between national survival, together with that of the monarchy, or a regime that sees Thaksin Shinawatra's triumphant return via the help of the red shirts.
The red shirts are no longer regarded as genuine campaigners for democracy as they have claimed. In the eyes of fair-minded observers, the ringleaders have committed high treason. Armed terrorists are their fearsome supporters, who carried out indiscriminate shootings at soldiers and civilians on April 10.
The red shirts know that their days are numbered. They can never walk around like free men again. But surely they want to live to spend the fortune they have extracted from Thaksin through his campaign funding. But the circumstances and the severity of their crimes simply forbid such an opportunity. The red shirts must fight to win so that they can get amnesty later.