BANGKOK — Pro-democracy activists are set on Saturday to join families of those who died in a 2010 military crackdown marking the eighth year since the bloodshed which killed nearly 100 people.
In the afternoon, the victims’ families will hold a religious merit-making ceremony dedicated to their memories at Ratchaprasong Intersection, a shopping district occupied by Redshirt protesters for a month before they were dispersed by soldiers on May 19, 2010.
Activists from various groups will then hold a candlelit vigil, lay red roses and read poems in front of the nearby Amarin Plaza shopping mall. The event is scheduled to start 5pm. Key members of the pro-election movement, like Sirawith Seritiwat, Piyarat Chongthep and Nuttaa Mahattana said they will attend.
A separate religious ceremony was held earlier today by a Redshirts umbrella organization at a temple in northern Bangkok.
Campaigner Sombat Boonngarm-anong also invited his friends to share a meal at the shopping mall’s McDonalds. While he maintained the event was meant to be solely for socializing, apparently to avoid running foul of the junta’s ban on political gathering.
In a humorous gesture, Sombat notified a local police station that up to 30,001 people may join him at the fast food restaurant on Saturday.
From March to May 2010, Redshirt protesters occupied parts of Bangkok in a bid to call upon the military-backed government at the time to dissolve parliament and organize a snap election. After a week of deadly clashes, the army launched a final assault on the demonstrators’ main encampment on May 19.
More than 90 people, mostly civilians, died during the the months of confrontation.
Court cases against then-prime minister Abhisit Vejjajiva and his deputy were dropped after the military seized power in a May 2014 coup. A rights monitor group on Saturday condemned a lack of legal repercussion against any of the officials in charge of the crackdown.
“It is outrageous that impunity for state-sponsored violence remains the standard operating policy of the Thai military,” Human Rights Watch said in a statement. “This simply encourages Thailand’s policymakers and soldiers to believe that they can get away with murder.”