An activist dressed in remembrance of the massacre of October 6, 1976, at the memorial rally at Thammasat University on Wednesday. (Photo: Nutthawat Wicheanbut)
Not much has changed in the 45 years since students and activists were slaughtered by the military and right-wing radicals at Thammasat University, sending scores of survivors to flee into the jungle where they took the victims. weapons against authoritarian government.
This point was raised by speakers when activists and family members of the victims gathered on Wednesday at the Thammasat University memorial to the victims of the October 6, 1976 purge to pay their respects.
Going forward party leader Pita Limcharoenrat said the government’s use of violence and legal action against young protesters and activists reflected the reality – that political differences remain a thorny issue never accepted by the state.
The state has never been open to change and has shown no compromise in dealing with people of different political views, he said.
Young protesters calling themselves Thalugaz organize almost daily rallies in the Din Daeng area calling for the ouster of Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha which always end in clashes with riot police.
Another emerging gathering site is the Nang Leong intersection, where another group, Thalufah, holds sporadic rallies with the same purpose, he said.
The Move Forward leader was among politicians, activists and family who attended the service at Thammasat University in remembrance of those killed by security forces and right-wing radicals in the 6 October 1976.
The massacre – the exact number of victims is still not known – forced many students to flee to the mountains, where they joined the since dissolved Communist Party of Thailand in an armed struggle against the government. (continued below)
People lay wreaths of remembrance at Thammasat University on the 45th anniversary of the October 6, 1976 massacre (Photo: Nutthawat Wicheanbut)
The Thalufah group said in a statement on its Facebook page that it will never forget the events of October 6, 1976, and said violent means are unacceptable these days.
Red Shirt leader Nattawut Saikuar said students continued to fight for democracy 45 years later, with the country still divided with no political solution to the problem.
He said a larger rally would be called after the Covid-19 situation eased, but he didn’t expect this to convince General Prayut to step down. The rally would aim to expose the government’s failed policies and actions to the public, he said.
The rally at the October 6 memorial began in the morning with religious ceremonies and the laying of wreaths and flowers in memory of those killed and injured. Speakers addressed the people afterwards.