Redshirts Mark April Crackdown, Pledge Fight for Justice

Redshirt protesters on April 12, 2010, parade portraits of those killed in the military crackdown two days earlier on the streets of Bangkok.

BANGKOK — Redshirt leaders on Wednesday held a religious ceremony to mark the 9th anniversary of a crackdown that killed scores of their supporters.

Weng Tojirakarn, Jatuporn Prompan, Nattawut Saikua and other prominent Redshirts prayed for the dead at a temple in northern Bangkok under the close watch of police officers. It appeared to be the only public event commemorating the fatal clashes that left about 90 killed, mostly civilians.

Speaking to reporters, Weng said his organization will continue to pursue justice on behalf of those who lost their lives.

“No power can make truth fade away,” said Weng, who was among the leaders of the Redshirt protests in 2010. “I believe one day justice will come. One day, whoever committed wrongdoings in that incident will be held responsible under the law.”

The ceremony was held at Wat Phra Sri Mahathat in Bang Khen district. Police officers were present, but did not interfere with the rituals.

This year’s remembrance of the crackdown was somewhat muted compared to previous years. In 2018, activists and the families of some victims staged a rally in their memory.

The clashes on April 10, 2010, broke out after the military attempted to disperse Redshirt protesters who were camping on Ratchadamnoen Avenue to call for a snap election. The crackdown turned deadly by nightfall when unidentified gunmen skirmished with advancing soldiers.

By the following morning, 27 people were dead, including civilians and soldiers. A colonel in charge of the operation was also killed.

The April crackdown was followed by a larger military operation a month later to disperse another Redshirt encampment downtown. Nearly 90 people died in the two months of unrest, including demonstrators, soldiers, rescue workers and two foreign journalists.

Legal cases against military personnel and government officials alleged responsible for the fatalities have gone nowhere. In 2013, the Redshirt-backed government also tried to pass a blanket amnesty bill that would have expunged political charges involving all factions, including both former MP Thaksin Shinawatra’s corruption conviction and investigations into the 2010 crackdown.

The bill was dropped after widespread opposition.