An open letter by a Thai Labour activist: Junya Lek Yimprasert
Dear Comrades and Friends,
Surely you are monitoring the crisis in Thailand, one the worst and most cruel crackdowns in Thai history. It began on April 10. In just over a month the number of counted bodies is already over 60. Most have been killed by military sniper-fire. About 1,600 people have been hospitalised.
The demonstration is growing. More than half of Thailand is calling for the dissolution of Parliament and a General Election.
Thailand is a founding member of the United Nations, and of the International Labour Organisation, and active in global dialogue, but the struggle for democratic development in Thailand has been dominated by monarchists, corrupt government and military dictators who club together to suppress and crush the people at will. Since 1932 the Thai people have had to face 26 militaries coups and crackdowns, 18 constitutions which nobody can remember, and 27 Prime Ministers of which only one elected PM managed to stand for a full 4-year term – without being kicking-out by the military, namely Taksin Shinnawatra who was in any case kicked out by the military in 2006.
Since 19 September 2006 Thailand has had 4 PMs – an appointed Royal Thai Army Commander-in-Chief (and member of the Privy Council), two elected PMs from the former Thai Rak Thai Party that were forced from office and, now, from 15 December 2008, Mr Abhisit Vejjajiva, the democrat that gave permission to use live ammunition against his opposition last May 15th.
The mobilization of the opposition to the Abhisit Government, mainly the rural and urban poor, has been growing since the 2006 military coup. It faced a violent military crackdown in April 2009 and now again from 10th April 2010.
The so-called ‘Red Shirts’ are facing a huge military force. The ‘ Red Shirts’ say this time they are not going to give up and will fight to the death. Many thousands of lives are now at risk.
The current Government’s stubbornness, deceit and use of military force stems from fear that they cannot win a General Election.
The Thai people, not just the ‘Red Shirts’, want a General Election – to clear the situation and re-establish the democratic process – to stop the country falling into worse chaos and civil strife, but there is no legitimate institution in Thailand that is acceptable to both sides – to mediate between the demonstrators and the Abhisit Government.
The Abhisit Government has rejected proposals for UN intervention, but external intervention is needed.
The people of Thailand are in urgent need of your support and solidarity – to prevent further loss of innocent life and finally establish democratic justice.
The military forces must be withdrawn. The Abhisit Government must step-down. There is no other way. There must be a General Election as soon as possible.
The United Nations is needed to ensure that violence cannot escalate in Thailand, to mediate between the opposing parties, to oversee proceeding for a General Election and to establish an international commission to investigate the shooting of hundreds of civilians.
This is a critical moment in a time of deep crisis and we must act quickly.
We call upon all friends and comrades to help us bring our message to your Government and to the United Nations. We request your support in demanding that the Thai Government remove immediately all military forces, throughout the country – not just from the streets of Bangkok.
In the 1992 crackdown in Thailand (17 – 19 May) 48 people were shot dead by military bullets.
We request that our comrades and friends around the world, all who understand the tragedy that continues to unfold in Thailand, add their name / name of their organisation to the ‘Stop the Bloodshed in Thailand’ petition. http://www.petitiononline.com/10310/petition.html
Please distribute the petition through your networks and, if possible, print-out the petition and, with as many people as can be gathered, deliver the petition to your Head of State – on May 20 – the day that ended the 1992 massacre, or as soon as possible.
Please also send pictures of any actions You make – so that we can inform the Thai people of your solidarity and support.
Junya Lek Yimprasert
For more information and overview of Thailand democracy struggle: http://timeupthailand.blogspot.com/2009/05/voters-uprising-that-is-changing.html
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