Parties recall Black May crackdown

Parties recall Black May crackdown

Three major parties joined a Black May Memorial Day event yesterday to commemorate those who lost their lives 31 years ago when a military-headed government cracked down on demonstrators.

Chaithawat Tulathon, secretary-general of the Move Forward Party (MFP), was one of those attending the event remembering Black May 1992 at a memorial on Ratchadamnoen Road. He said what occurred taught people about democracy and how much power the military has in politics.

“There was no military reform after the incident. As such, there is no guarantee that the military will not return to the political scene in the future,” he said. But Mr Chaithawat said many lessons from the bloody incident where the military cracked down on anti-government protesters had not been fully learned, with no investigation reports being released.

The military-headed government of the time, led by coup maker and prime minister Gen Suchinda Kraprayoon, clashed with demonstrators demanding a return to democratic rule and an elected prime minister.

The government reported 44 deaths, 1,728 injuries and 38 people missing. Some claim the real death toll was much higher.

Pheu Thai Party leader Cholnan Srikaew said Bloody May was another example of the people struggling amid political crises to attain full democracy.

He added that the results of Sunday’s general election are one of the clearest examples of the people using their power to throw out a military-led government.

Leader of the Thai Sang Thai Party Khunying Sudarat Keyuraphan said the nation’s current political situation is similar to the events of Bloody May. “Our politics are always stuck with coups. It is like a car stuck in the mud. We need to accelerate our engine to free the car from mud as quickly as possible,” she said.