BANGKOK — The Japanese Embassy commemorated the death of the Japanese journalist who was killed five years ago today during the military crackdown on Redshirt protesters in Bangkok.
Osamu Isawa, charge d'affairs of the Japanese Embassy in Bangkok, lay flowers on the spot where Hiroyuki Muramoto was shot dead while filming clashes between soldiers and Redshirt protesters on the night of 10 April 2010.
Osamu Isawa, charge d'affairs of the Japanese Embassy in Bangkok, lay flowers on the spot where Hiroyuki Muramoto was shot dead in 2010, 10 April 2015.
Hiroyuki, who was working for Reuters at the time of his death, was one of at least 20 civilians who died in the violence. Five soldiers were also killed, including Col. Romklao Thuwatham, the commander of the military operation. In total, more than 90 people died in the crackdown, which lasted until 19 May 2010.
Osamu said he commemorated Hiroyuki's death on behalf of the Japanese Embassy in Thailand, and added that the Japanese government is still waiting for the result of the investigation into the reporter's death.
The court inquest tasked with determining who shot Hiroyuki is due on 30 April.
Around 20 plain-clothed security officers observed today's brief commemoration from a distance.
The 2010 crackdown was ordered by then-Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva on 10 April in an effort to disperse tens of thousands of Redshirts who were rallying in Bangkok to demand a new election. As dusk set in, clashes between security officers and shadowy "Blackshirt" militants who were allied to the demonstrators broke out on Ratchadamnoen Avenue in Bangkok, killing 25 people.
The military later launched another assault on the Redshirts in late May 2010, forcing the movement’s leaders to surrender and call off the protests on 19 May 2010.
Soldiers begin crackdown on Redshirt protests in Bangkok on 10 April 2010.
Under orders from the junta, this is the first year since 2010 that Redshirt activists will not gather in Bangkok to honor the victims of the crackdown, which is considered the bloodiest period of political unrest in recent Thai history.
The ruling military junta, which seized power from a Redshirt-backed government last May, has imposed a ban on all political gatherings, and specificially ordered Redshirt leadership not to organize any events to mark the bloody crackdown.
Yesterday, the junta ordered the cancellation of a Buddhist ceremony organized by the families of victims in the crackdown. The memorial service was scheduled for today at a Buddhist temple in Pathum Thani, and was only open to close relatives of the deceased. However, military officers said they feared "ill-intentioned individuals" would "infiltrate" the event and make the ceremony a political affair.
This morning, several security officers were stationed outside the temple where the ceremony was schedueld to take place.
Several military commanders who played major role in the 2010 crackdown are leaders of the current government, including junta chairman and Prime Minister Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha, and Minister of Defense Gen. Prawit Wongsuwan.