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THAILAND – End political violence, bring offenders to justice

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The New York based Human Rights Watch has issued a statement below on 12 April on Thailand political crisis, which left 21 dead and scores of others injured:
red_shirts_clash_thai_security_forces.jpgThe New York based Human Rights Watch has issued a statement below on 12 April on Thailand political crisis, which left 21 dead and scores of others injured:

The Thai government should keep its promise to set up an independent commission to carry out a prompt, effective, and impartial investigation into the politically motivated violence and abuses by all sides during the recent protests, Human Rights Watch said today.

All parties should immediately cease political violence, the government should hold those responsible accountable, and Thai leaders should end censorship of a satellite television station, more than 10 radio and television stations, and 36 internet sites.

On April 10, the government's attempt to forcibly disperse anti-government protests organized by the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD) and supported by former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra escalated into a street battle in Bangkok. According to the Erawan Emergency Medical Center, 15 civilians and 5 soldiers were killed by gunshots, explosions from grenades and improvised explosive devices, and beatings during the clash.

At least 569 civilians, 265 soldiers, and 8 police officers were injured from teargas inhalation, assaults, and gunshot and shrapnel wounds. "Thailand saw the bloodiest political violence in two decades on April 10," said Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch.

"The government and protest leaders need to make a public commitment to end attacks, establish effective control over their supporters, and ensure that those committing offenses are properly investigated and prosecuted."

The government of Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva tried to restrict the activities of the UDD by enforcing the Internal Security Act (ISA) to prevent protesters from marching, occupying key locations, and blocking traffic in Bangkok.

When the protest began on March 12, the red-shirted protesters defied the ISA by peacefully marching around Bangkok and blocking traffic at Phan Fa Bridge and Ratchaprasong intersection to convert both locations into continuous rally sites.

Please read the rest of the statement here.  Also read the statement from FOCUS on the situation in Thailand. Photo credit: Reuters, "Anti-government 'red shirts' clash with Thai security forces in central Bangkok".