12 July 2024

Former student activists and survivors of the October 6th, 1976 massacre, in and around Bangkok’s Thammasat University, have launched a new group called “Octoberists For Democracy”, or OctDem. They are calling for an end to the selective prosecution of protesters and activists in recent months.

Led by prominent politicians, who claim that they learned about political violence the hard way, Chaturon Chaisang, Surapong Suebwonglee, Prommin Lertsuriyadet and Tossaporn Serirak, are warning that violence is not a solution. They say only the rule of law can pave the way to peace.

OctDem issued a statement, calling on the country’s judiciary to ensure due process and release political activists currently held on remand, since they are innocent until proved guilty in a court of law.

The written demand was submitted to the president of the Supreme Court.

Many pro-democracy movement leaders have been put behind bars in recent months, as a consequence of their anti-establishment activism. Among them are Parit Chiwarak, Panusaya Sithijirawattanakul and Arnon Nampa, who have been charged with defaming the royal institution and other offences related to national security.

Despite their demand for political activists on remand to be released, OctDem leader Chaturon insists that the group was not set up as a political movement. Their intention is, instead, to share their experience of the 1976 massacre, which did not lead the country towards peace, he said.