Witnesses Recall Military Actions In May 2010

(12 September) A fish
vendor and a rescue worker told the Criminal Court yesterday about how military personnelshot at
them during clashes between the military and the Redshirts around Lumpini Park in May
2010.

The testimonies were given as part of the inquests into the deaths of 3 individuals
killed at the park on 14 May 2010: Mr. Piyapong Kittiwong, Mr. Prachuab Silapan, and Mr. Somsak
Silarat. The court is trying to establish whether the security forces had been responsible for the 3
deaths.

The military has repeatedly denied any responsibility to the deaths of civilians in
the 2010 crackdown, arguing instead that they had been killed by the shadowy armed militants. Over
90 people lost their lives in the violence which had engulfed Bangkok for 2 months.

Mr.
Thongchai Henglian, a fish vendor, told the court he was riding a motorbike to buy fish at the
market, passing along Rama IV Road. He spotted a group of protesters on the road, and went to
observe the gathering, parking his motorcycle at Lumpini Police Station.

Later, Mr. Thongchai
said, he mingled with the protesters and journalists, while rows of soldiers armed with automatic
rifles stood at some distance away.

Then, according to the witness, gunfire erupted, and he
saw bullets crashing into trees and pillars along the road, so he ran toward the pavement around
Lumpini Park with a journalist, who was taking shelter 5 metres away from him.

Mr. Thongchai
continued that he heard the said journalist crying in pain that he was shot, so he attempted to
rescue the man, but came under fire himself. He was shot twice in his hip as he had his back to the
soldiers who were positioned 200-300 metres away, he said.

Soon, a group of people carried
him away to safety. Doctors later extracted bullets from his body, and the wounds reportedly showed
he was shot from behind.

Another witness, Mr. Preecha Nuwongsi, told the court he has been
working as a medical rescue worker at Vajira Hospital for 16 years. On the day of the incident, he
had received an emergency call that the soldiers were clashing with the protesters and there were
injured individuals in Lumpini Park, so he and his team drove the ambulance to the
scene.

Once he arrived there, Mr. Preecha said, he found a dead body in the pool near Gate 2
of the park, so he crawled toward the body (later identified as Mr. Piyapong), as there were
occasional gunfires. Having reached the body, he dragged it to the ground with a rope then carried
it to the ambulance.

However, Mr. Preecha testified, gunfire erupted in the direction of his
unit. He said he saw dozens of soldiers pointing their guns at his direction, so he shouted at
them to cease firing while his team waved a Red Cross flag, but, according to Mr. Preecha, the
soldiers continued to fire their weapons for a while.

After his team managed to escape, they
were informed by the police that a dead body had been found near Gate 3 (later identified as Mr.
Prachuab). The body had gunshot wounds on the chest, Mr. Preecha said, and there were soldiers in
the vicinity where Mr. Prachuab′s body was found.

The witness told the court that no weapon
was found on neither Mr. Piyapong nor Mr. Prachuab.

Meanwhile, Mr. Saengpetch Ruenrom, a security guard of the park, testified that he had not
seen any armed militants in the park, but he had seen a large group of soldiers armed with M-16
rifles and shotguns around the park.

The last witness, Mr. Terdsak Duangpapeng, another
security guard, confirmed to the court that he had seen no armed militants among the protesters
throughout the incident.

The next trial will be held on 8 October.