BANGKOK — Redshirt leaders held a religious ceremony at a temple on Tuesday marking the 10th anniversary of a military crackdown against their supporters, which left about 90 people dead.
Activists Jatuporn Prompan, Worawut Wichaidit, Ari Krainara, and a handful of their supporters gave alms to monks and prayed for the victims at Wat Nuan Chan in northern Bangkok. Jatuporn said he has been “finding the truth” for the past 10 years, even though he is fully aware that justice will not be served.
“The truth is that this is the deadliest fight for democracy in Thailand,” Jatuporn said. “Over the past 10 years, the Redshirts have been living humbly because we know that there is no way for us to fight. We can only seek for justice, but it will not be delivered.”
He continued, “I have stressed to the families of the deceased that their children, parents, and relatives are martyrs. They are not terrorists.”
Jatuporn, who led the anti-government demonstrations 10 years ago, also slams campaigns by the pro-government faction to paint the protesters as terrorists.
The former Redshirt leader said a probe against the former PM Abhisit Vejjajiva and his deputy Suthep Thaugsuban over their deadly crackdown orders is not over yet.
“Both Abhisit and Suthep have never been brought into the justice system,” Jatuporn said. “The case has to be forwarded by the Anti-Corruption Commission. It is widely known that if the case has to pass through the anti-graft commission, then it is over because they will decide unilaterally that the leaders are not guilty.”
This year’s ceremony was scaled down from what the organizers originally planned due to the coronavirus outbreak. The ritual was meant to take place at a temple in Bangkok where ashes of the 1932 democratic revolt leaders are interred.
Redshirt protesters, most of them supporters of former PM Thaksin Shinawatra, staged prolonged rallies in Bangkok in March 2010, calling for the military-backed government to call fresh elections.
A military operation to clear the protest in April that year left dozens dead. A larger assault on the Redshirt encampment on May 19 brought the protests to an end, though at the total cost of about 90 lives, including civilians and security officers.
Another Redshirt leader, Weng Tojirakarn, called upon the supporters to keep fighting for democracy.
“We should not let the 10-year mark go as another ritual, but we should do something more sustainable to continue the spirit of the martyrs,” Weng wrote. “We must build a democracy that will truly stand in Thai society, no matter how difficult it can be.”
In the afternoon, another group of Redshirt leaders will hold a remembrance event at a conference hall inside Every Mall on Rattanathibet Road.