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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.

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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.

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Red Shirts unite against coups d’état

On Saturday, more than 100,000 Red Shirts gathered at the Bonanza in Khao Yai for a political rally/concert that lasted well into the early hours of Sunday.

In between acts, Red Shirt speakers discussed the government’s plans to amend the constitution, as well as other goals of the Red Shirt movement.

While the UDD and the Pheu Thai government agree on the need to amend the constitution, several UDD co-leaders are critical of the government’s plans to hold a referendum. On Saturday the speakers argued instead for a third reading of the constitutional amendments in parliament, since they see a referendum as an unnecessary risk. (more…)

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Hands Off Our Democracy- Red Shirts Send Message to Pitak Siam

Over the weekend, Red Shirts gathered in numbers first in Khon Kaen on Friday, and then in Bang Pla, outside of Bangkok, on Sunday. At both rallies, over 30,000 activists listened to UDD leaders discuss the rising threat of a coup d’état as the anti-government rally by Pitak Siam on November 24th approaches.

The main message from the leadership was that, while the Red Shirts should stay away from the Pitak Siam rally next weekend, they should be prepared to protest in the case of a real threat to Thailand’s democracy.

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