TOP

Dr. Weng comment on Democrat Party press conference

wengFrom Dr. Weng Tojiragarn facebook page on May 8th 2013

Dr. Weng’s have pointed out on his facebook page the four “big fat lies” that have been told by the Democrat Party at their press conference on May 8th 2013. The detail of Dr. Weng’s post have been translated by TRS and are presented here as follow;
(more…)

Read More
TOP

Somyot Calls on Prime Minister Yingluck for Amnesty, Bail Rights

In a letter dated April 9th, political prisoner Somyot Prueksakasemsuk calls on Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra to focus her government’s energy on making political prisoners a thing of the past in Thailand. His appeal for amnesty, among others, has gained traction in the Pheu Thai party which decided to put amnesty at the top of the legislative agenda. While the move is encouraging, the parliamentary process is likely to be a prolonged battle with Democrat Party members who oppose amnesty for all political prisoners, especially lèse majesté (112) prisoners such as Somyot.  

free-somyot-eng-a41

Consequently, Somyot emphasizes the importance of ensuring bail rights for political prisoners awaiting trial or in the appeal process. Having been denied bail 14 times already, Somyot is all too familiar with the unconstitutional treatment of 112 prisoners.

The letter reads as follows [English Translation]: 

(more…)

Read More
TOP

Unhealed Wounds

On April 10th, the UDD held a day-long rally at Bangkok’s Democracy Monument to honour those who lost their lives during a brutal military assault on Red Shirt protesters 3 years ago. Despite the beaming sun, thousands came out to commemorate the tragic events that caused the deaths of 21 protesters, 5 soldiers, and Japanese cameraman Hiroyuki Muramoto. The resounding message was a powerful one: never again.

[From left to right] Suwimon with husband Bunjead and Ampon's mother Nang

[From left to right] Suwimon with husband Bunjead and Ampon’s mother Nang

But for the families who lost loved ones on April 10th 2010, the damage is already done. Thai Red Shirts (TRS) met with some of the families at the rally that were torn apart by senseless violence and are still waiting for justice.

Nang Tatiyarat, Suwimon and Bunjead Phungkinchan share the horrible fate of losing a son that night. Their sons, Ampon Tayirat and Terdsak Phungkinchan, were both slain by military bullets.

(more…)

Read More
TOP

Photo Gallery: April 10th Rally in Honour of the Dead

On Wednesday, up to 20,000 Red Shirts gathered by Democracy Monument in Bangkok for a rally organised by the UDD in honour of those who died during the brutal and illegal military crackdown of Red Shirt protests on April 10th 2010.

The rally started off with a procession of street performers and Red Shirts representing different regions of Thailand, heading from the Royal Hotel to Democracy Monument. In the afternoon, Buddhist monks led the UDD leadership and the crowd through a Buddhist ceremony in honour of the victims. The rally also featured an exhibition of photos and videos taken during the crackdown, as well as speeches by regional and national UDD leaders.

Former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra also spoke to the crowd via a webcast. He offered his condolences to the families of the victims, and joined the UDD leadership in saying that the brutal suppression of pro-democratic forces must never again be allowed to take place in Thailand.

For an outline of what happened on April 10th 2010, visit the Thai Accountability Project.

See below for a selection of pictures of the event.

(more…)

Read More
TOP

UDD Political Schools In Context

IMG_1950Over the course of several months, Thai Red Shirts (TRS) have attended many of the UDD’s political schools. The latest school in the Northern province of Chiang Mai was the UDD’s thirteenth ever political school and more schools are scheduled for the coming months.

While the concept of “political schools” may have negative connotations for some readers, in this case they refer to gatherings akin to political party conventions. Much like party conventions, the UDD’s political schools are important venues for the exchange of ideas between the movement’s leadership and grassroots activists. They also serve to build strong local Red Shirt organizations that are vital to the movement’s long-term success as a vehicle for democratic change in Thailand.

At a previous event in Lamphun province, UDD co-leader Nisit Sinthuprai said,

The Red Shirt movement needs to start at the village level. We need a strong network of local committees that can work together to defeat the amaat system in Thailand.

(more…)

Read More
TOP

Academics Call for Judicial Reform

An academic panel hosted by the progressive Nitirat law group last Sunday at Thammasat University debated the role of the courts in the pursuit of justice in Thailand. Special attention was paid to article 112 of the Criminal Code, also known as the lèse majéste law, which states that  “whoever defames, insults, or threatens the King, the Queen, the Heir-apparent or the Regent, shall be punished with imprisonment of three to fifteen years.” The panel, which consisted of academics and activists, argued for reform of the Thai judiciary in order to adapt it to a democratic state.

The panel members raised several concerns regarding the lack of legal basis for the actions of judges in lèse majesté cases. According to Thai law, in order for the court to find a defendant guilty of a crime, his/her guilt must be proven beyond any reasonable doubt. Ms Sawatree Suksri, a member of Nitirat and lecturer of law at Thammasat University, argued that Thai courts often betray this fundamental principle,

In Akong’s [Ampon Tangnoppakul] case, the courts were satisfied with a lack of evidence of his guilt, citing instead his presumed guilt. This is a clear violation of the “burden of proof” principle that underlies criminal law.

(more…)

Read More
TOP

Red Shirt Grassroots Speak Out

Thai Red Shirts (TRS) traveled to the province of Nonthaburi to hear from grassroots Red Shirt activists. The following is a summary of a discussion with more than 50 Red Shirts on the past, present, and future of their political activism.

TRS: Why did you first get involved in the Red Shirt movement?

Something went terribly wrong in this country in 2006. The injustice that we have suffered since the coup d’état compelled us to mobilize and organize.

TRS: Who among you voted for Thaksin Shinawatra?

[Everybody raises their hands]

TRS: Why did you vote for him?

He implemented policies that had an extremely positive impact on our lives. The 30 baht health care scheme in particular greatly improved our quality of living, allowing many of us to get the medical care we could not afford previously. 

The Village Development Fund also helped us build our community’s economy and infrastructure. The money was managed locally and collectively. Many of us work in agriculture so a loan system was developed to help people develop their crops.

Most importantly, Thaksin gave us faith in the democratic process and proved that politicians could respond to the needs of voters.

(more…)

Read More
TOP

Red Shirts Fight For and Against Political Systems, Not Individuals

On Saturday the UDD held a political school in Korat, the latest in a series of political education initiatives that the UDD has set up in its commitment to promote democratic participation.

Throughout the day, UDD co-leaders engaged with 2,000 local grassroots activists on the core beliefs and principles of the Red Shirt movement. While the day’s most pressing issues of amnesty for political prisoners and amending the constitution were discussed, the school focused on the movement’s long term goal of overcoming the amaat power structure that continues to undermine democracy in Thailand.

The amaat system is based on an old elite network of patronage  that survived the abolition of the absolute monarchy in 1932. It comprises Thailand’s old moneyed elites, military generals, and high-ranking civil servants.

UDD leader Tida Tawornseth explains,

The amaat system depends on military and economic power to protect the interests of the few. The system holds back economic and technological developments, and hinders social mobility. The amaat are stuck in the past.

(more…)

Read More