A Change of Guard

សូមស្តាប់វិទ្យុសង្គ្រោះជាតិ Please read more Khmer news and listen to CNRP Radio at National Rescue Party. សូមស្តាប់វីទ្យុខ្មែរប៉ុស្តិ៍/Khmer Post Radio.
Follow Khmerization on Facebook/តាមដានខ្មែរូបនីយកម្មតាម Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/khmerization.khmerican

Saturday, 22 May 2010

Mop-up operation in Bangkok under way [with rumours that Khmer mercenaries among red shirts]

Quest for truth

Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva wants Thais to pull together to repair physical and mental damage, and promised an independent investigation into the violence that killed 85. (Photo by Patipat Janthong)

Irish Times
Rumours swirl in the capital. Many say the Black Shirt hardcore rioters were made up of Khmer mercenaries from Cambodia. I witnessed one fighter with elaborate Khmer style tattoos on his neck and arms, but these are also popular in Thailand.

AS TROOPS hunted down the remaining anti-government protesters, Bangkok’s citizens came out of their homes, where they had hidden for safety during Tuesday’s violence, and gasped at the damage done to their city.

The Thai government said it had mostly snuffed out 10 weeks of violent protests in the capital. However, burnt-out buildings dot the streets of the capital and finding your way around is difficult because of road blocks and occasional ramshackle barricades of spare tyres that still smoulder.

The government response has been restrained considering that the city centre has been occupied for 2½ months, but there are deeper problems to be dealt with. Many Thais believe the country is being polarised, and that the ultimate price could be civil war.

A curfew has been imposed from 9pm in Bangkok and in other provinces where unrest has been reported. It will be continued for the next three days. However, the streets are largely empty, as people stay close to home – no one quite believes this is over. Die-hard protesters are still to be found in the city, but the impetus behind the fight has largely gone.

There are differing reports of casualties, but the official toll from the fighting on Tuesday is 15 dead and 96 wounded. The total death toll since the occupation began is probably 83.

Large parts of Bangkok are scorched by insurrection, piles of tyres smoulder beyond razor-wire perimeters where police and soldiers still monitor comings and goings to make sure no fresh supplies of weapons reach the Red Shirt resistance.

The list of buildings hit by arson attacks reads like a tourist guide to the city. Some 39 buildings were set on fire on the day of the riots, including the stock exchange, the main electricity provider and various banks, including a branch of the Siam City Bank. Top tourist draws like the Central World mall, Center One, Siam Theatre and Big C Rajdamri were so badly damaged that they may have to be demolished.

Red Shirt leader Veera Musigapong pleaded for an end to the violence, saying the course the struggle was taking would not help the opposition’s interests. “Anger is destructive and the advancement of democracy can never happen by being angry and vengeful,” he told local media.

He insisted that the Red Shirts were patriots who loved their country’s institutions and wanted to support democracy by demanding the removal of prime minister Abhisit Vejjajiva’s government and the holding of fresh elections.

Mr Veera was one of three more Red Shirt leaders who surrendered to authorities yesterday. Five leaders gave themselves up the day before and were flown to a military camp south of Bangkok for interrogation.

Once the Red Shirts stepped back yesterday, the violence that followed was carried out by a hardline faction, marked out by their black shirts.

On Tuesday, the violence appeared orchestrated, and many in Bangkok believe that ousted prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra was behind their actions. While Mr Thaksin is not loved in Bangkok – his power base is in northern Thailand – the exiled leader does have support among the urban poor in the capital.

Rumours swirl in the capital. Many say the Black Shirt hardcore rioters were made up of Khmer mercenaries from Cambodia. I witnessed one fighter with elaborate Khmer style tattoos on his neck and arms, but these are also popular in Thailand.

A group of police escorted more than 1,000 people – many of them women and children – away from a Buddhist temple in the heart of the former Red Shirt protest zone. Six bodies were found in its grounds. One woman died after an asthma attack during the melee.
Khmerization's Note: Many red shirt protesters were mainly made up of ethnic Khmers and Laotians living in the northeastern provinces of Thailand who are Thai citizens. We need to remember also that the Thai media owned by the Red Shirt Movement also accused the Abhisit government of dressing up Khmer prisoners in military uniform and sent them to crackdown on the red shirt recently. How true are these rumours? Nobody knows.


Anonymous said...

This is a ridiculous accusation. Such rumor are a bunch made up lies trying to point fingers at Cambodia for Thailand's own embarrassing uncontrollable political bloodshed. Keep your own fight and your own problems in your own country. Keep your fights to yourself. Don't try to incite and inflame Cambodia into involving in your bullshit chaotic political madness.

Anonymous said...

It is ridiculous that Khmers have become convenient scapegoats for all the Thai political problems. Khmers have gone through enough suffering and bloodshed so they would be scared to get into such dangerous game. If they found some Khmer-speaking protesters among the red shirts, they must be ethnic Khmers living in Thailand called Khmer Surin. These claims are total lies to try to sow hatred among the Thais against Cambodia and the Khmers people. The yellow shirts who brought Abhisit into powers have caused border conflict with Cambodia when they stir up trouble along the border that saw Thai troops occupying a strip of lands in Preah Vihear temple in 2008 that caused armed clashes and tensions until today. Stop blaming Khmers for all your problems. Enough is enough!

Anonymous said...

Fucken idiots... This is the first time i've heard of them conveniently referred to as khmer style tattoos. Yes they are popular in thailand, almost exclusively despite having khmer roots. Goes to show how these people are backflopping douchebags.