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Defence Ministry to take legal action over anti-government slogan campaign



Thai PBS World

The Defence Ministry  is vowing to take action after an anti-government slogan was projected onto various Bangkok monuments and buildings, including the Defence Ministry building itself, at the weekend. The Seek the Truth slogan also appeared on the Democracy Monument, at the Victory Monument BTS station and on Wat Pathum Wanaram temple.

Former members of the now defunct Future Forward party are taking credit for the campaign, which seeks to commemorate the anniversary of a bloody government crackdown that ended 3 months of protests in the capital in 2010. Over 100,000 people, supporters of former PM, Thaksin Shinawatra, and known as the “Redshirts”, had flooded into Bangkok, demanding elections be called.

A large fire that broke out at the Central World shopping centre during the government crackdown was also projected onto the walls of Thailand’s Defence Ministry on Sunday night. The campaign has gone viral on social media, with the hashtag Seek The Truth (in Thai) being the top-trending hashtag on Twitter on Monday. Defence spokesman, Kongcheep Tantravanich, is vowing retaliation, saying the campaign is intended to divide the country.

“I personally believe it is inappropriate. It can incite disunity and mistrust among the public, which is not beneficial to the current situation the country is facing. If one wants to seek for the truth, they can find it from the court cases where justice is delivered. I see this as a politically-motivated act seeking to cause misunderstandings to institutions and organisations. Security officials are working to find the perpetrators, which should not be difficult for them.”

However, Deputy PM Prawit Wongsuwan says he can’t say for sure that the action has broken any laws.

After ongoing demonstrations between the months of March and May, the protests were finally ended by a government crackdown that led to the loss of 100 lives, mostly civilians. A Japanese journalist and 5 soldiers also died. Charges were brought against then PM Abhisit and his deputy, Suthep Thaugsuban, but subsequently dropped. To date, nobody has been held accountable for the bloodshed.

Now a group called Progressive Movement, which includes former Future Forward party members, has claimed responsibility for Sunday’s campaign, adding that this is just the beginning. The group says it plans to release more information about the government’s actions in ending the 2010 protests.

SOURCE: Khaosod English


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