The National Human Rights Commission has issued an 88-page report on the 2010 red shirt demonstrations that led to over 90 deaths in Bangkok. The report is titled “Examination for Policy Review on the UDD-led Demonstration 12 March-19 May 2010”, and absolves then-Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva and his Democratic Party-led government of responsibility over the lethel turn of events. Instead, it places blame on the UDD for instigating violence which led to the military crackdown.
The report was immediately criticized by certain groups associated with the red shirt movement. The People’s Power Alliance, a red shirt splinter group, said it would give the NHRC until the end of this month to show responsibility for its “misinformation” in the report.
The report said the government was justified in stopping the transmission of the pro-UDD PTV channel because of its repeated airing of “hate speeches”. The shutdown of the station led to a red shirt mob storming and taking over the building where the channel aired in spite of the presence of soldiers guarding the premises.
Regarding the events of April 10 near Ratchadamnoen Avenue which resulted in 27 deaths and 890 casualties, the report said the UDD protest was unconstitutional and violated the rights of the public. It also blamed the men in black among the protesters for igniting violence by using weapons of war against the government soldiers.
It also said the UDD ”indecently used children and women as shields against the authorities”, and was also guilty of ”planning murder against the military with laser markings”.
Concerning the April 22, 2010 incident where M79s were used at Saladaeng resulting in one death and 100 casualties, it blamed the police for doing too little to prevent the incidents in spite of having prior knowledge of the violent intentions of the UDD.
Most of the deaths and injuries occurred May 13-19, and here the report said the military had received clear orders to fire live bullets into the air to stop or block the protesters, but clashes with armed men among the protesters led to 404 injuries and 51 deaths.
It also said armed men among the protesters running in and out of Wat Pathum Wanaram and exchanging gunfire with soldiers led to the six deaths there. This contradicted a ruling earlier this month by the Southern Bangkok Criminal Court that blamed the security forces for the six deaths at the temple.
Kittisak Prokati, a Thammasat University law professor, said the NHRC had misplaced its emphasis. He said it should have focused on how the demonstrators’ rights were violated by the government before considering how the public’s right were affected by the protests. Image/BangkokPost