Thai ‘Red Shirts’ commemorate first anniversary of deadly attack

April 11th, 2011 - 1:03 am ICT by BNO News  

BANGKOK (BNO NEWS) — Thousands of anti-government “Red Shirts” on Sunday held a mass rally in the Thai capital to commemorate the first anniversary of a deadly clash with security troops, MCOT Online news reported.

Protesters gathered on Ratchadamnoen Avenue where 25 people were killed and more than 800 were wounded one year ago when security forces tried to remove the anti-government supporters from their protest site at Phan Fa bridge. Among the dead victims were Col Romklao Thuwatham and Japanese cameraman Hiroyuki Muramoto who worked for Reuters.

Fugitive former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who was ousted in a 2006 coup, is set to address the gathering via video link, while his lawyer Robert Amsterdam will also talk about the progress on lawsuit against the Thai government over its crackdown on protesters last year.

There are still no clear causes of death for many of the civilians, including Muramoto. Japanese Foreign Minister Takeaki Matsumoto on Saturday reportedly asked his Thai counterpart Kasit Piromya during a meeting in Indonesia on the progress of the investigation. Piromya said the Thai government has always offered full cooperation with the Japanese embassy in Bangkok.

“Today we pay tribute to [Reuters photographer] Hiro’s life but remain discouraged that the circumstances of his death are still unknown a year later. Hiro’s family and Reuters colleagues deserve to know how this tragedy occurred and who was behind it,” Stephen Adler, Reuters editor-in-chief, wrote on Sunday.

Relatives of the deceased also organized religious rites for their loved ones today. About 21 companies of police are expected to be deployed around the rally to prevent any untoward incidents, MCOT Online news reported.

The Red-shirt supporters of the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship held a 69-day demonstration last year in an effort to topple the government of Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva. Protesters clashed with police, leaving 92 dead and more than a thousand injured.

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