TOP

Democracy Update 27/3/13

At their weekly press conference on Wednesday, UDD leaders celebrated the recent release of Red Shirt prisoners Saichon Paebua and Pinit Chanarong after three years of imprisonment without bail. The duo was finally acquitted on Monday of the arson attack on the Central World shopping centre that occurred on May 19th 2010, the last day of the Red Shirt protests at Ratchaprasong. The two other defendants in the case, both juveniles, had already been acquitted in December 2012.

UDD leader Tida Tawornseth said that the verdict proved that the Democrats have lied about what happened that day,

They’ve tried to sell a lie to Thailand and the world, instead they’ve robbed innocent people of their freedom and their dignity. That is truly criminal.

Tida also expressed her grievances towards the courts that had denied Saichon and Pinit their right to bail,

For three years they’ve been treated as convicted criminals. Why weren’t they granted bail, where is the reasoning?

(more…)

Read More
TOP

Amnesty is Long Overdue – Red Shirt Activist

Throughout the past few months, Thai Red Shirts (TRS) has had the opportunity to sit down and talk to Red Shirt activists who are at the front line of the struggle for justice and equality in Thailand. Tui is well known among activists as one of the first to engage with political prisoners and highlight their cause. Her story mirrors both the frustration that many Red Shirts feel towards the political situation and their dedication to propelling positive change.

TRS: When did you first come to Bangkok?

I came to Bangkok from Isaan about 30 years ago. Like so many others, I was looking for job and business opportunities in the capital.

TRS: When did you start to become involved in the Red Shirt movement?

I first joined the Red Shirts after the military coup in 2006. I voted for Thaksin Shinawatra’s government and was very upset by the coup which removed democracy from our country.

(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
TOP

Murder Charges About Accountability and Justice- UDD Lawyer

UDD Lawyer Robert Amsterdam

On Monday, UDD lawyer Robert Amsterdam argued in an article on his website that the recent murder charges brought against former prime minister Abhisit Vejjajiva and former deputy prime minister Suthep Thaugsuban are acts of legal justice, not politics as the Democrat party claims.

Amsterdam wrote the following:

Former Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva and his deputy Suthep Thaugsuban, with the assistance of media outlets eager to run with the Democrat Party’s official line, have rationalized the murder charges recently filed against them as part of a scheme to bring Thaksin Shinawatra back to Thailand. The charges, they claim, are designed to squeeze them into accepting an amnesty bill that would guarantee them immunity from prosecution in exchange for vacating Mr. Thaksin’s conviction on a dubious conflict of interests charge. They should be so lucky.

(more…)

Read More