Police probe projection of political messages on 10th anniversary of end of red-shirt protests
The Royal Thai Police have been asked, by the Ministry of Defence, to investigate the use of a laser to project a political message, on several government buildings and public places Sunday night, marking the anniversary of the military crackdown on red-shirt protesters on May 10th, 2010.
National police chief Pol Gen Chakthip Chaijinda called an urgent meeting of senior officers today to discuss the incident, which was described by Lt-Gen Kongcheep Tantrawanich, spokesman for the Defence Ministry, as an attempt to sow the seeds of political division and distrust among Thai people, at a time when the country is simultaneously facing the COVID-19 pandemic and economic hardship.
Pol Gen Suwat Jaengyodsook, the deputy police chief, said that the police legal affairs section is looking into the incident, to determine whether an offence has been committed.
Several locations linked to the May 10th crackdown had messages projected onto them, including the Ministry of Defense, the Democracy Monument, Pathum Wanaram Temple and Rajprasong intersection.
It is reported that the Kao Klai political group, led by Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit, has claimed responsibility for the stunt.
Commenting on this report, Pol Col Krisana Pattanachoroen, spokesman for the Royal Thai Police, said that police will proceed to investigate the incident, adding that they will not summon anyone from the Kao Klai group for questioning without sufficient evidence.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha refused to comment on the incident in detail, noting that it concerns those in charge of security to determine whether the act is illegal. He did say, however, that the incident is inappropriate at this critical time.
Lt-Gen Kongcheep said, if the perpetrators want to seek justice for red-shirt protesters, they should use legal channels and produce evidence to support their case, instead of projecting divisive political messages on buildings.
Several red-shirt protesters and military officers were killed or injured in clashes during the four weeks of protests, organized by the red-shirt movement, formally called the United Front of Democracy against Dictatorship, in an attempt to oust the government of Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva.
On May 10th, 2010, the authorities decided to end the siege and disperse the protesters, a move which met with resistance from hard-core protesters. Several buildings in Bangkok, including the Central World shopping mall, were set ablaze, allegedly by the protesters. In other parts of the country, several provincial halls were also set on fire. Troops finally succeeded in dispersing the protesters and arrested several red-shirt leaders.