Thai `Red Shirts` rally six months after crackdown

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

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

"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`

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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