At the UDD’s weekly press conference on Wednesday, Red Shirt leaders applauded three recent civil court decisions which established that there was no solid evidence to prove that Red Shirt protesters were responsible for the arson attacks in the Ratchaprasong area on May 19th 2010.
The Bangkok Civil Court ordered Deves Insurance and Muang Thai Insurance to pay for damages caused by the arson attacks on Central World, the Zen department store, and the Siam theater that occurred after the Red Shirts called off their protest against the government of Abhisit Vejjajiva. The insurance companies had denied coverage on the basis that the Abhisit government had defined the arson attacks as acts of terrorism which fell outside of their policies.
The court rejected the notion that the fire constituted an act of terrorism or that Red Shirt leaders incited protesters to set fire to nearby property.
Although the decision came in a civil court and does not directly impact the ongoing criminal trials against 24 Red Shirts who face terrorism charges dating from the 2010 protests, the defendants will be able to use the rulings in their defense.
UDD co-leader Dr Weng said,
I’ve been waiting for this verdict from the court for some time. Three judges all determined that the Red Shirts did not burn any buildings. Our protests were not acts of terrorism. We were protesting to dissolve an illegitimate government and hold new elections.
The UDD also took the opportunity to thank all the Red Shirt volunteers who monitored the Bangkok governor election last Sunday.
UDD chairwoman Tida Tawornseth said,
Thanks to you, the number of invalid ballots in Bangkok dropped from 200,000 to 37,000 since the general elections in 2011.