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‘Men In Black’ a Running Joke at DSI – Dutch Journalist

Maas points to where he was shot in May 2010

On Monday, Dutch journalist Michel Maas visited the Department of Special Investigations (DSI) to submit into evidence the M16 bullet that struck him in the back on the 19th of May 2010. While at the DSI, Maas inquired as to the status of the investigation on the ‘men in black’ or ‘black shirts’,

They started laughing. It seems to be a running joke around [there]. They did show me a picture taken from TV footage of a man in a black t-shirt running around with a M16. The problem is that the man was running with the military. Of course, the military denies all these allegations… Judging by the photo evidence I’ve seen, it appears to point to them.

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“Our main priorities are justice and democracy” – UDD leadership

At the UDD’s weekly press conference on Friday, Red Shirt leaders reacted to the Pheu Thai government’s recent cabinet reshuffle that denied Jatuporn Prompan a ministerial position, and addressed the growing frustration among Red Shirts that the Pheu Thai government is losing sight of its priorities.

Jatuporn shared his thoughts on the cabinet decision

The goal of the Red Shirts is to push for democratic change in Thailand, not to win positions of power in government. We mustn’t tire in our struggle.

He also condemned unwarranted rumours that he would consider switching parties and that he had been offered financial compensation in exchange for being denied a ministerial position.

Let’s not listen to these divisive rumours, they are only trying to weaken us in our fight for justice.

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Broken Body, Strong Resolve

Wasu and Kooldit at Saturday’s rally in Pathum Thani

Last weekend, at a seminar celebrating the founding of a new chapter of the UDD in Pathum Thani, Thai Red Shirts (TRS) were granted the opportunity to speak to a few of the activists present.

Two of the people at the seminar were Kooldit and her husband Wasu, both of whom had taken part in the protests in April 2010. For them, the protests had a dramatic impact on their lives.

Wasu had formed part of the barricade protecting the protestors against the military outside of Satreewadit School on April 10 2010. He was beaten severely by soldiers and woke up from a coma three days later. The beating left him with permanent brain damage and partial paralysis.

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UDD to Democrat Party- “Let the Courts Establish the Truth”

At the weekly press conference on Friday, the UDD leadership responded to allegations made by the Democrat Party during its ‘men in black’ misinformation rally last Saturday.

UDD chairwoman Tida especially challenged Abhisit’s statement  rally that no lives would have been lost had it not been for the ‘men in black’,

The ‘men in black’ continue to star in the Democrat Party’s fantasy story in which 60,000 heavily armed troops in central Bangkok had little to do with the escalation in violence that killed 99 people. We must let the courts establish the truth.

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Red Shirts Honour Lost Chapter of Thai History

14 October is generally a day of commemoration for the successful removal of the Thanom-Prapas dictatorship in 1973, however, this year Red Shirts gathered for a different reason. For the first time ever, a memorial service was dedicated to the soldiers that died defending democracy against the failed royalist rebellion of 1933.

UDD leader Tida said,

We are here to honour the soldiers who died protecting Thailand’s young democracy. Today, they serve as an example of an army that worked for the people and respected their rights.

On October 11th 1933, a year after the People’s Party revolution brought an end to the absolute monarchy in Thailand, the minor royal Prince Boworadet led a royalist faction of the army to overthrow the people’s government and reinstate the pre-revolutionary regime. Despite some initial success, the royalist rebels were defeated by armed forces loyal to the democratic government on October 14th, and the revolt died out shortly afterwards. This event, the first military victory of the new democratic regime against the old reactionary regime, has since been omitted from Thai history books because it contradicts the narrative that the amaat embraced and nurtured democratic growth after 1932.

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A History of State Violence- Remembering Oct 6

The Thammasat University massacre of October 6, 1976, is perhaps the most savage example of state violence against pro-democracy protests in Thailand’s history. Along with Oct 14 1973, May 1992, and April-May 2010, the massacre, commonly known as “Oct 6,”  is an integral part of the Thai state’s historical suppression of democratic voices.

In October 1976, students at Thammasat University were protesting the return of ousted dictator Thanom, who they had successfully exiled in 1973. Part of the protest involved a reenactment of the murder of two trade unionists by police that had occurred weeks earlier. According to ultra-royalist groups, such as the Red Gaurs and the Village Scouts, the actor resembled the Crown Prince, and the act was therefore deemed anti-monarchist. Armed and outraged ultra-royalist paramilitary groups and the Border Patrol Police surrounded the Thammasat campus area and attacked the students. The confined protesters were beaten, shot, raped, and lynched. According to official records, the massacre of students left 46 dead and 147 injured.

On Saturday, Thammasat University held an all-day event commemorating the 36th anniversary of the October 6th massacres. Along with political speeches, poem recitals, concerts, and remembrance events, Thammasat University hosted an academic panel that discussed political activism in Thailand since Oct 6. The speakers addressed the decline of student engagement in politics, and the need for greater tolerance to differing viewpoints in Thailand’s current political climate.

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The Fight for Truth in Thailand Continues – UDD Leaders

At the UDD’s weekly press conference on Friday, UDD leaders expressed their concerns for the ongoing suppression of truth in Thailand. As they mourned the sudden loss of Kittichai Kangkan, a Red Shirt supporter and a key witness in the Wat Pathum massacre of 2010, they also discussed tomorrow’s 36thanniversary of the Thammasat University massacre and the persistent failures of Thailand’s National Human Rights Commission (NHRC).

Kittichai passed away on Monday, October 1st, at Siriraj Hospital due to sudden heart failure. According to family members, he was not known to have any previous cardiovascular issues. Although he had yet to testify in court, he had provided police with an eyewitness account of soldiers shooting at unarmed civilians inside the temple that had been declared a “safe zone.” His statement is still admissible in court and will surely help in proving that the military were responsible for the six murders that occurred at Wat Pathum on May 19th 2010.

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Farmers send Message to Academics: When it comes to Rice, We know Better

Up to 1,000 farmers and Red Shirt activists gathered outside the National Institute Development Administration (NIDA) on Tuesday to protest what they perceive as an assault on their livelihoods by 146 academics, who petitioned the Constitutional Court to terminate the Pheu Thai government’s rice-pledging program. Despite such threats of judicial interference, the government has just approved a total budget of 240 billion baht for 15 million tons of rice to be harvested this month, with prices at 15,000-20,000 baht per tonne, depending on quality.

The group of students and professors, led by NIDA academic Adis Isrankul na Ayutthaya, accuse the program of violating articles 43 and 84 of the military-backed Constitution of 2007, which stipulate that the government should promote “fair and free competition… and [an] equitable economy through market forces.” However, the Constitutional Court has rejected the petition, since it failed to identify the charter articles that would grant the court jurisdiction on the matter. A revised petition is almost certain to be issued shortly.

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