Prayuth, Pheu Thai Should Step Back, Avoid Bloodshed: Activists

Authorities beat a protester in May 1992 in Bangkok. Photo: The Nation
Authorities beat a protester in May 1992 in Bangkok. Photo: The Nation

BANGKOK — Thailand could witness further deadly clashes if politicians do not step back from the deadlock, a committee chair for relatives of those killed in the May 1992 political confrontations said Thursday.

Adul Kheawbariboon, chairman of the May 1992 Victims’ Relatives Committee, held a press conference warning that signs that suggest possible deadly political clashes are ominous.

“I am concerned and know well what will happen in such conditions,” said Adul, who lost his 20-year-old son nearly three decades ago during the crackdown on anti-junta protests in May 1992. “This kind of situation will surely lead to the second May Massacre… There will surely be loss of lives and to the economy.”

Speaking with four others who lost their loved ones when the military junta mowed down protesters in 1992 – leading to 44 deaths and more than 50 people missing – Adul said it’s not too late to prevent a similar repetition.

Adul urged junta leader Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha and candidates of leading anti-junta parties, including Pheu Thai’s Sudarat Keyuraphan of Future Forward’s Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit, to withdraw and allow smaller party candidates with less direct political conflict to become prime minister.

He named Bhumjaithai and the Democrat Party as such smaller parties.

Adul said there is a real risk of political violence if Prayuth insists on having his 250 appointed senators vote him prime minister, despite commanding a minority in the lower house.

He also warned that a Pheu Thai-led coalition could not be formed if they don’t have the support of the senate to select the prime minister – a requirement before a coalition can be formed.

Adul added that politics has become even more divisive after elections.

“We think both sides are caught in a deadlock,” said Adul, who said he would submit a letter to push for their proposals to major political parties next week.

He said it’s still not too late for Prayuth to diffuse the situation.

“It’s time for you to leave and act as a mentor. You still have a chance to be a statesman,” Adul said.