Thai `Red Shirts` rally six months after crackdown
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Last Updated: Friday, November 19, 2010, 22:23
Bangkok: Thousands of Thai "Red Shirts" today converged on central Bangkok to mark six months since a deadly crackdown on their anti-government rally.

Police at the scene said up to 10,000 people filled the upmarket shopping zone that the Reds occupied earlier this year with their campaign for snap elections.

Red Shirts, many wearing their trademark colour and waving banners, lit candles to commemorate those killed in the unrest.

Shouts of "There were dead people here!" filled the air as Jatuporn Prompan, one of the few Red Shirt leaders not in prison, arrived to address the crowd.

"Today we came here to show the world that no matter how many of us you kill, you can't kill us all," he said.

Red Shirts, many of them supporters of fugitive former premier Thaksin Shinawatra who was ousted in a 2006 coup, took to the streets in mid-March for two months of mass rallies, with numbers peaking at 100,000.

More than 90 people, mainly civilians, died in clashes between demonstrators and soldiers, and nearly 1,900 were injured.

"We are here to find justice and truth but no one can give us that," one protester, who gave her name as Pongsri, told AFP.

Events to mark six months since the crackdown began this morning with hundreds of members of the movement tying black ribbons on the gate of the capital's Remand Prison.

Though none has been convicted, 19 senior Reds are currently in jail on terrorism charges relating to the unrest during the demonstrations, while others thought to have played key roles remain on the run.

The rally appeared to be peaceful and Jatuporn encouraged the crowd to disperse in an orderly way in the early evening.

"We came here singing and dancing. I don't understand why they are afraid of us. We just want to be happy," Uthaiwan Sundkanop, a 56-year-old retired government worker told AFP in central Bangkok.

Bangkok and three surrounding provinces remain under a state of emergency, invoked in April in response to the Reds' protest.

The mainly poor and working class protesters accuse the government, led by Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva, of being elitist and undemocratic.


First Published: Friday, November 19, 2010, 22:23

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