Bangkok, the 19th of July 2010: Open until the 25th of July, the exhibition marks the pain and suffering of the Red Shirt protesters who joined the groups’ ten-week demonstrations demanding the dissolution of the Abhisit Vejjajiva led government and a call for fresh elections.
Held at the Puea Thai Party headquarters, the exhibition is divided into two “white and black” sections. White signifies the preciousness of human life and the human rights that protect that life, while the black represents the corruption, divisiveness and “double-standards” practiced by the government in dealing with the recent political conflicts.
Party leader, Yongyuth Vichaidit, reiterated feelings that the governments actions in dealing with the largely peaceful protests contravened human rights laws, stating that the exhibition was opened to remember those killed and the innocent families affected as a result of the violence. He said that he hoped “the exhibition will serve as a reminder to Thai people and I pray that such an incident will not happen again.”
Red Shirt protests began on March 14th and turned violent in several confrontations between protesters and armed security personnel ordered to maintain the situation. The 10-week long protest ended in a violent, bloody confrontation on the 19th of May when the army and security forces stormed the Red Shirts encampment in the capital. Eighty-nine people lost their lives in the protests whilst a further 1,900 were injured, some critically.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Abhisit reaffirmed the government’s determination to fully investigate the situation, asking for the cooperation of all ministries, agency’s and the public in attempts to probe the disturbances. He has since admitted that the conflict was a “challenging” issue and that some human rights may have been violated during the recent riots.
“This is a major challenge and remains a major conflict,” said the prime minister. “Apart from the normal work of all ministries and agencies, the government is pushing the reform process [ahead] and probing to establish facts.”
In conclusion, the premier emphasised the governments increased focus on human rights, stating that they are a crucial base for maintaining Thailand’s social, economical and political footing.