The Asian Transnational Corporation Monitoring Network expresses concern over the oppression against civil society, freedom of speech and association that is likely to follow after the military crackdown (in the name of “anti-terrorism”) in Thailand.
The ATNC Monitoring Network is outraged by the blunt military crackdown of the Abhisit government against its people to end the political tie-up in Thailand. On 10 April 2010, the government used state forces to eject the protesters, instigating armed fighting by both sides and 24 were killed and more than 800 wounded. Between 13 and 17 May, according to the government at least 35 people were killed, all civilians, and at least 232 wounded. On 19 May, the government stormed the barricades of the protesters with tanks and full weaponry. Until now more than 80 people have been killed and 2,000 injured, including civilians and international journalists.
We strongly condemn the government’s actions and use of live ammunition against unarmed civilians.
One does not forget the bravery of the Thai people who since 1973 have been struggling for freedom, democracy, justice and equality with their lives. They are crushed once again by the ruling class, whether it is represented by the Thaksin, Sundaravej or Abhisit government, which masks its neo-liberal domination with parliamentary democracy. As a regional network of trade unions and labour organisations fighting against neo-liberalism and capitalist exploitation, we stand in support of all the working people and labourers in Thailand to fight for real democracy that will achieve political and economic justice for them rather than a ploy of the interests of the ruling class.
Despite the political divisions and tension, the civil society organisations, trade unions and NGOs in Thailand are struggling to give a voice for justice to the people and their struggle. We support their appeal telling the international community that:
* Rather than amending the real social contradictions of the Thai economy, the military coup back in 2006 was an illegitimate curb on democracy in Thailand resulting in the aggravated political mobilisations that further divided the country; and
* Beyond the political division and complications, the people’s demonstrations in Bangkok and other provinces are to express their legitimate frustration and grievances against the existing mode of parliamentary democracy dominated by the partisan interests of the ruling class; the Abhisit government’s use of military force and live ammunitions against the demonstrators is an outrage that must be condemned.
We are particularly concerned with the oppression against civil society, freedom of speech and association that is likely to follow after the crackdown in the name of “anti-terrorism”. We strongly urge the Abhisit government to:
* Immediately provide assistance and protection for all Thai people including those injured or bereaved due to the violent clashes
* End the state of emergency and submit all government actions to the legal system and its checks and balances
* Immediately end all restrictions of the media
* Appoint an independent commission to investigate the murder of innocent civilians by Thai military forces
* Peacefully negotiate with the protesters, towards effecting a government with an elected mandate.
* Protect the freedom of assembly, freedom of collective action and collective bargaining as universally recognised fundamental parts of a free democracy and fair society.
We urge the international communities, trade unions and labour organisations to give solidarity with the struggle of the working people and labourers in Thailand.
ATNC Monitoring Network
20 May 2010