Reds denounce attempts to blame them for serial bombings

politics August 15, 2016 01:00

By WASAMON AUDJARINT,

OLA

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RED-SHIRT leader Jatuporn Prompan yesterday denounced attempts to pin the blame on the anti-charter movement for the bloody bombings in seven provinces last week.



“We condemn these governmental and political actors who are using these incidents to accuse the anti-charter movement [of masterminding the operation] despite the lack of evidence and facts,” Jatuporn said in his Facebook post. 
“They intend to eradicate political opponents in order to garner support for the government that seized power from the people.”
The red shirts, or the United Front for Democracy Against Dictatorship (UDD), who opposed the new charter, yesterday held a press conference to decry the tragic blasts in Prachuap Khiri Khan, Surat Thani, Phang Nga, Phuket, Krabi, Trang and Nakhon Si Thammarat that killed four people and wounded more than 30 on Thursday and Friday.
The responses followed assumptions by the People’s Democratic Reform Foundation, some Democrat politicians and national police that the incident could stem from the charter gaining a landslide victory in all but the three southern border provinces a few days before the attacks.
While the government is said to be still sorting things out, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has already hinted that the suspects had moved even before referendum day. 
“I wonder why the bombings took place at a time when the country is moving forward,” he said on Friday.
Police have detained an undisclosed number of southern political leaders, including red-shirt leader Prapas Rojanapitak who was taken into custody under Article 44 of the interim charter.
Jatuporn also lashed out at this “abuse of power”. 
“We oppose blanket detention by using special powers, not allowing people to judicially prove themselves. This could create a climate of fear in society.”
The UDD has no involvement with the incident, as it always adheres to a peaceful approach, he said. 
The red shirts were accused of setting fire to local administration offices across Thailand during the 2010 political crackdown. Two red shirts were charged with torching the CentralWorld shopping centre but the charges were later dismissed.
However, the UDD has never been reported to have committed sabotage on a deadly scale.
The red-shirt leader also countered southern Democrats and the police, who believe militants from the three southernmost provinces had nothing to do with the serial attacks.
He cited BBC Thai’s interview with IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly analyst Anthony Davis, who denied the possibility of the red-shirts’ involvement and gave weight to the Patani independence movement in Pattani and northern Malaysia.
Davis viewed the attacks as too large in scale to be managed by only a few people days after the announcement of the referendum vote results. 
The movement’s talks with the Thai government are also known to be rocky, he said.
Jatuporn urged the government to investigate the attacks with transparency and an open mind.
“You [powers-that-be] don’t dare to identify them because you know they are armed just like you,” he said. “Your easiest way then is to make us red shirts and former PM Thaksin [Shinawatra] the victims. 
“You want to shift your targets because you’re scared to fight against [the real perpetrators].” 
Surapong Tovichakchaikul and Watana Muangsook from the Pheu Thai Party also joined in the censure of the horror attacks and refuted accusations against the UDD and fugitive Thaksin.
“I extend moral support to officers to proceed with a thorough investigation,” Surapong said. 
“And to those making premature assumptions, please stop your terrible acts at once.”