Democrat convoy tours 2010 'men in black' sites

national October 13, 2012 00:00

By The Nation

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The Democrat Party yesterday held a mobile rally in Bangkok to raise awareness of the role of the so-called men in black during the political strife in 2010.

Participants drove through key sites, including Wat Pathum Wanaram, where men dressed in black appeared to intervene in crowd-control operations aimed at the 2010 red-shirt rallies.

Two Democrats, Boonyod Sooktinthai and Tankhun Jitt-isara, led a convoy along a circuitous route starting at the party’s headquarters and ending at Democracy Monument on Rajdamnoen Avenue.
The convoy passed several roads on which the red shirts marched two years ago, before making its first stop at a Buddhist temple on Rama I Road.
Six people, including a health worker, were killed at Wat Pathum Wanaram on May 19, 2010, after the red shirts had dispersed from the Ratchaprasong rally site.
Boodyod told the rally participants that “men in black” showed up at 34 spots around the capital and took part in the political violence.
He said the presence of men in black at the temple had triggered violent clashes with security forces, resulting in casualties and the deaths of civilians.
Tankhun said people of all political colours should take an active role in unmasking the men in black to get to the bottom of the deaths of more than 90 people in April and May 2010.
The rally organisers arranged a mock display of men in black to highlight their point.
Democrat supporters held banners condemning the men in black as well as “the man with a black heart living in Dubai” – a veiled attack on fugitive former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra.
From the temple, the convoy moved on to its second and final stop at Rajdamnoen Avenue.
Boonyod said the avenue was the main location at which men in black unleashed their attacks on the security forces.
Among the Army officers killed was Colonel Romklao Thuwatham, who was elevated posthumously to the rank of general.
Before the convoy reached Democracy Monument, about eight men held up banners critical of the Democrats. At the request of police, the eight agreed to vacate the site reserved for the convoy. 
The Democrats will hold another rally tomorrow at Lumpini Park to disseminate information relating to the violence involving the red shirts.
Thida Thavornseth, chairwoman of the red-shirt group United Front for Democracy Against Dictatorship, said the real “men in black” were the Democrats, as they wore black while smiling openly. 
She said the Democrats’ activities were a continuation of the efforts of the Truth for Reconciliation Commission of Thailand, whose report seemed to have been produced to support the party. 
All the talk about “men in black” was created to rescue the Democrats, she claimed.
Thida urged red shirts to ignore the Democrats’ activities and to avoid involvement in them. 

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