Statement on the First Anniversary of Red Shirts Suppression

10 April 2011 marks the first anniversary of the start of the suppression of people protest for democracy. The protest was organized under the leadership of United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD) or the Red Shirts.

The peaceful assembly began on 14 March 2010 without weapons. They called for the government of Mr. Abhisit Vejjajiva to dissolve the parliament, returning the power to the people through new election, the result— 25 deaths, and 800 injures.

The crackdown of the people derived from the strategy of not solving the political problems politically. They chose to use military force. Start with Internal Security Act. State of Emergency declared. More than 50,000 military and police personal deployed to surround the demonstrators. Armed with deathly weapons, sniper units, helicopters to drop tear gas, the crackdown continued until 19 May 2010, the death toll rose to 91, more than 2000 injures, and over 400 people arrested, dozens provinces throughout the country under curfew.

In the year past, the government not only not admitting the wrong doings in the cracking down of the Red Shirts, but also continued to use the Security Act to intimidate and made arbitrary arrests for months. Despite the setting up of Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and many others ‘Reform Commissions’, it is a trick to legitimize the government, and none of the recommendations have any practical effect.

In the mean time, the UDD or the Red Shirt movement revived rapidly. It became the largest Democracy Movement in Thailand for genuine democracy. They called for the prosecution of those involved in 10 April and 19 May 2010 massacre. They called for fair trials for all of arrested leaders, not double standard as is usually employed.

The political crisis that stems from the conflict between the ruling elite and the people who cherish democracy remains after 4 years. To resolve the crisis— those responsible for the bloody crackdown on 10 April to 19 May 2010 have to be brought to justice. Parliament must enact Amnesty Legislation for all protestors of all political persuasion. Moreover, a new Constitution that is truly democratic must be drafted.

I urge the international community, both governmental and private, to pay attention to crisis in Thailand. Especially I urge all to support the upcoming election, and help ensure it is free and fair.

If Thailand were completely democratic, it would help stabilize Southeast Asian region, and will be beneficial to all International community.

Jaran Ditapichai

[There is a gathering in Sydney today to mark this sad anniversary.]