Thai deputy PM: Protesters died because they ran into bullets

Originally published at Siam Voices on March 8, 2011

Here’s a quote by deputy prime minister Suthep Thaugsuban from a few days ago:

เราไม่คิดเข่นฆ่าประชาชน ไม่เคยใช้กำลังเจ้าหน้าที่ตำรวจทหารเข้าสลายการชุมนุม แต่ที่ตายเพราะวิ่งเข้ามาใส่

We had no intentions to kill our people, we have never ordered the police and the army to use force during the dispersal of the [red shirt] protest but those [who got] killed ran into [the bullets]*.

“เทือก”ลั่นได้ 300 เสียงไม่ง้อ “เนวิน-เติ้ง” แนะจับตาศึกซักฟอกศอกกลับฝ่ายค้าน“, ASTV, March 5, 2011

I don’t where to start here…! First off, this remark was done during a lecture called “Democrat Ideology” (“อุดมการณ์ประชาธิปัตย์”) at a seminar named “The new generation, the Thai future” (“รุ่นใหม่ อนาคตไทย”). More can be read here in Thai.

Suthep has always been a gaffe-tastic politician, who regularly puts his foot in mouth. But this is a new low even for him. Is he really suggesting that these 90 killed and thousands of injured people were just unlucky to ran into the bullets? Is he suggesting the Japanese cameraman and the Italian journalist were victims of their own fault because they ran into the crossfire? Are the nurses and medical workers killed because they just couldn’t wait to treat the wounded until the shooting is over? Were those six killed at Wat Pathum Wanaram accidentally shot because they ran for cover from the soldiers on the elevated Skytrain tracks shooting at them? How far can anyone be further from reality?

I could go on forever with this rant, but this shows that Suthep, the DSI and all other authorties are dishonest and not caring about the truth, since it means to take responsibility. All the talks about fear that a hasted investigation might cause unrest is just an excuse not to face the problems at hand and what they seem to realized the least is that the more this drags on, the more attempts to put a blanket over what happened, the wound will not heal and this will eventually lead to more unrest!

h/t to @KrisKoles and Bangkok Pundit

UPDATE: In case anyone thinks that Suthep was misquoted by one source there, you can read this very quote not only at ASTV, but also at Khao Sod, Thai RathSpring News and also on Suthichai Yoon’s site – they all report the same insane quote!

UPDATE 2: As Bangkok Pundit points out in his take on the story the same quote also appeared on state media channel MCOT and astonishingly also on the website of the RTAF’s Directorate of Intelligence. Also, the fact that not one single Thai news organization has not picked up on this story, neither Thai or English language, speaks volume…!

*Note: For the sake of transparency it should be noted that the brackets were added at a later time.


2 thoughts on “Thai deputy PM: Protesters died because they ran into bullets

  1. Suthep is much worse than just a crude politician. Like Samak he was personally, deeply involved in the events he so callously tries to dismiss…

    Nick Nostitz: Thailand’s Political Awakening

    Of course one of the most discussed topics is the violence of militants who appeared for the first time openly on April 10 and during the battles in May 2010, and also for the first time in this 5 year crisis engaged directly with state security forces Of course one of the most discussed topics is the violence of militants who appeared for the first time openly on April 10 and during the battles in May 2010, and also for the first time in this 5 year crisis engaged directly with state security forces… Two key events in 2009 can be seen as root cause for the appearance of these militants.

    The first cause was the Blue Shirts in Pattaya, and their attacks against Red Shirt protesters… These Blue Shirts can be described as a shadow state militia… They were set up by the state, and contained members of the security forces – both navy personal, police officers beholden to Nevin Chidchob, and also a few PAD guards who were duped into joining the Blue Shirts. But it goes further, as Suthep Thaugsuban, the deputy prime minister responsible for security matters, was deeply involved as well, and so was the Supreme Command. Any investigation into the Blue Shirts was squashed and discouraged, even though more than enough proof existed of them holding and using arms, even existence of evidence of their identities, such as number plates of pickup trucks they used, which could have easily led further.

    The second key event was the early morning dispersal on April 13, [2009] initiating the Songkran Riots… Very few journalists were able to witness from the side of the Red Shirts the initial stages of the dispersal at Samliem Dindaeng in the early morning hours. I remember only three or four other photographers there, all from Thai papers. Different than what the government and the military stated – shots were fired directly into the Red Shirt protesters, there definitely were injured protesters, and possibly even a few killed. I have no proof though. An anonymous witness in the Amsterdam report claimed that there were 6 or so dead. I can’t go that far, as I have no proof. But I do think that this number is within the possible range, given what I saw there.

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