10 years and still counting: Activists gather to seek justice for 2010’s dead

“The truth, who opened fire?” reads an arrangement of candles lit by the Redshirt activists Tuesday evening at Ratchaprasong intersection on the 10th anniversary of an army crackdown on mass demonstrations that left dozens dead, including six shot to death at a nearby temple.
“The truth, who opened fire?” reads an arrangement of candles lit by the Redshirt activists Tuesday evening at Ratchaprasong intersection on the 10th anniversary of an army crackdown on mass demonstrations that left dozens dead, including six shot to death at a nearby temple.

A small crowd gathered early Tuesday evening around Ratchaprasong intersection to commemorate the scores killed when massive street protests were put down violently by the army on May 19, 2010.

Laying flowers and lighting candles, about a dozen activists, mostly wearing signature T-shirts that defined the Redshirt movement, showed up in front of Gaysorn Plaza to renew calls for justice for those killed 10 years ago at and around the intersection, which was the epicenter of a protest movement numbering more than 100,000, by many estimates.

“We just came here voluntarily and peacefully asking for justice for those who passed away,” said Redshirt activist Anurak “Ford” Jentawanich. “As long as the shooting deaths from 10 years ago remain unsolved, Redshirts will gather here every year.”

Phayaw Akkahad sat late Tuesday afternoon beside a memorial to her daughter Kamonked Akhad.
Phayaw Akkahad sat late Tuesday afternoon beside a memorial to her daughter Kamonked Akhad.

Crouched before a nearby banner declaring the COVID-19 state of emergency, Phayao Akkahad hosted a small memorial ceremony in front of Wat Pathum Wanaram for her daughter Kamonked Akkahad.

Komonked was a volunteer nurse gunned down along with five others inside the temple after the army had cleared the area of protesters.

“Ked’s death was unfair. She escaped to Wat Pathum after the officers cleared the protest, why did she have to be shot dead,” she said. “If people want to gather for protest, it’s their right and they shouldn’t have been targeted for shooting.”

Despite several court judgments finding the army culpable for their deaths, no one has ever been brought to justice.

Ten years ago on May 19, 2010, army troops made the final move to clear out the protesters who had occupied the heart of downtown for weeks to demand new elections. Nearly 100 civilians, two foreign journalists, two policemen and nine soldiers were killed between April and and May that year.

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