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Red Shirts Question Tactics And Cause Of Protests In Thailand
Source: http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/asiapacific/red-shirts-question/909732.html
Source Date: Wednesday, December 04, 2013
Focus: ICT for MDGs, Internet Governance
Country: Thailand
Created: Dec 04, 2013

BANGKOK: As tensions cool in Thailand, some pro-government supporters who have lost members in clashes with rival protesters are questioning their tactics and even their cause.

Hundreds of pro-government supporters, soldiers, and members of Thailand's ruling party gathered at a temple outside Bangkok's city centre to pay their last respects to Thanasit Viengkham.

The army private was killed during a clash between anti- and pro-government protesters, leaving behind his young wife and seven-year-old daughter.

Being an active member of the pro-government group, also known as the Red Shirts, the late army private was patrolling Rajamangala National Stadium, where tens of thousands of Red Shirts were holding a rally in support of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra on Saturday.

Violence broke out between pro- and anti-government camps. Thanasit was shot and died in hospital.

Thanasit’s wife Nikol Suthawut said: “I want them to stop fighting and talk. I don't want any side to suffer any more loss because both love and fight for democracy. Nobody wants anything like this to happen.”

But her wish is unlikely to come true, at least not anytime soon with divisions running deep among Thais.

The death of Thanasit is one of the early casualties reported during the continuing street protests in Bangkok.

But apart from the loss itself, the incident has actually prompted many Red Shirts to question what exactly they are fighting for and whether or not it is worth fighting at all.

Surawit Serichon, a Red Shirt supporter, said: “We have been fighting but never received any answer. What are we fighting for? What is our victory? Who is our enemy? Why does the government not refer to the International Criminal Court? These questions are not answered. We really want the answers from the Red Shirt leaders, the ruling party MPs, Thaksin and Yingluck.”

Meanwhile, Thanasit's family has been given financial support by the ruling Pheu Thai party, as well as additional assistance from former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra.

Thanasit has been cremated, to the grief of hundreds of his fellow Red Shirts, whose questions have yet to be answered.

- CNA/gn
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