THAILAND: Protests against coup in Korea & Thailand
(Hong Kong, September 29, 2006) Protests against the September 19
military coup in Thailand were held in Korea and Thailand on Friday and
In Seoul, around 50 persons assembled outside the
Royal Thai Embassy on Friday morning and held aloft a banner and
placards declaring, “No to the coup in Thailand”.
demonstrators, from civic, human rights and political groups, demanded
that the junta step down from its political role and restore the 1997
“Saying they are for democracy while trampling
basic democratic rights is total nonsense,” the groups said in a
statement made to a press conference outside the embassy.
The groups said that the military regime is using “old tricks” to grab
power, and warned that there would be a backlash from people in
The protestors recalled their own struggle against
military dictatorship in Korea, saying that for this reason it was
crucial for them to join with people in Thailand against the army
The full text of the groups’ statement follows. Photographs of the protest can be viewed online at: http://thailand.ahrchk.net/mainfile.php/docs/134/
Basil Fernando, executive director of the Asian Human Rights
Commission, said that it was inevitable that the new military regime in
Bangkok would get a very negative response in Korea.
“The Korean people understand very well the costs of dictatorship, and the struggle to overcome it,” Fernando said.
“The Koreans especially will not be fooled by the kind of sweet talk
coming from the Thai army generals, which has confused some persons
from countries without similar experiences,” he said.
expect to see many more protest actions and more concerted efforts
against this new regime from people in Korea,” Fernando said.
The Hong Kong-based regional group said in a statement on Friday that
it considered the fight against the junta to be “a fight for the whole
On Thursday, students and academics protested against the coup in Chiang Mai, northern Thailand.
According to an observer, around a hundred people defied a ban on
political gatherings of five or more persons to openly criticise the
Intelligence officers took photographs and audio recordings of the assembled group and after some time police arrived.
On Friday morning academics from the Chiang Mai-based Midnight
University, an informal education institute, held a press conference in
which they called on the coup group to set up elections and disband.
The group symbolically ripped up pieces of paper marked “interim constitution”.
Neither of these events was covered in the mainstream media in
Thailand. The Midnight University protest was reported in Thai only on
the independent news website Prachatai: www.prachatai.com.
“Contrary to the impression created in some quarters that the junta is
not restricting media freedom, we are aware of many protest incidents
in Thailand and abroad that are simply not being covered,” Fernando
The AHRC office in Hong Kong has been forwarded
articles critical of the regime that mainstream newspapers have refused
It has also received reports that the
information ministry in Bangkok has closed down and blocked websites,
in addition to the hundreds of community radio stations that have been
“This creates the illusion that there is little or no opposition to the coup,” Fernando said.
“Restrictions on movement of people in rural areas and orders to
farmers groups and labour unions not to organise gatherings are bound
to bottle up a lot of ill-feeling and hostility towards the regime that
at some point will spill over,” he warned.
On Tuesday the AHRC posted a banner on its website reading, “The 1997 Constitution of the Kingdom of Thailand–LET IT LIVE”.
The group has said it will oppose the new regime for as long as necessary.
DECLARATION AGAINST THE COUP IN THAILAND: COUP D’ETAT IS AN ENEMY OF DEMOCRACY (29 SEPTEMBER 2006)
On the evening of September 19, a military junta carried out a coup to
oust Thaksin Shinawatra, Prime Minister of Thailand, and revoked the
Constitution of 1997. The plotters of the military coup called
themselves, “The Council for Democratic Reform” loyal to King Bhumibol
Although he is not without controversies, Prime
Minister Thaksin Shinawatra was a democratically-elected prime
minister. The Constitution of 1997 was a prize won by the pro-democracy
activists who struggled against the previous military dictator in 1992.
Therefore, rights to bring down the prime minister and to
draft a new constitution belong to the people and not to a military
An endorsement from the King of Thailand does not
make a coup legitimate. There have been 19 coups in modern history of
Thailand and most of them were supported by the monarchy. This
underlines the anti-democratic nature of the monarchy.
this moment, the plotters of the military coup explain that the coup
was to protect democracy of Thailand. However, immediately after the
coup, the military junta banned all demonstrations and protests and
declared martial law. Such measures were extended nationwide on
Saying they are for democracy while trampling
basic democratic rights is total nonsense. The military junta also
reassures that it has no interest in taking personal power and a new
prime minister will be appointed very shortly.
the office of prime minister is not something a junta unilaterally
appoints but must be elected by the people. Furthermore, the new
constitution being drafted by the military regime gives too much power
to the Council for National Security. In the end, the military junta
will continue to maintain the political power.
This is the
oldest trick in the book, used by the previous military juntas. In the
last coup of 1991, the military junta appointed a puppet prime minister
and controlled him from the back.
It has always been the Thai
people who defeated the military dictators’ attempt to rule
permanently. Especially, in 1992, the military dictatorship was forced
to step down when the Thai people fearlessly fought against the
military that fired upon the demonstrators, killing 100 and wounding
hundreds of people.
Some organizations in the Thai social
movement have already started to act against the coup. Within 24 hours
of the coup, students and young social activists have formed the ’19
September Network against the Coup D’etat’.
organizing series of protests and open air meetings demanding an
immediate stop to political intervention of the military, immediate
restoration of the Constitution of 1997, and protection of basic
democratic rights including the freedom of press.
September Network against the Coup D’etat’ will hold a protest against
the coup later today in the evening and is planning another mass
protest on October 6, the 30th anniversary of the massacre committed by
the military junta in 1976. Furthermore, along with broader social
movement organizations, the network is planning to hold the first Thai
Social Forum to discuss the alternatives for genuine democracy. The
safety of these protests and the Thai Social Forum must be guaranteed.
Their actions will undoubtedly accompany tremendous danger since they
live under the constant threat of military repression. This is why
building strong solidarity movements home and abroad are crucial.
Such a task is especially important for the Korean people, who had had
suffered under the military dictatorship and had brought down the
military dictatorship through struggle.
Therefore, we, the
Korean social movements, strongly warn the Thai military junta that if
they do not step down from the power immediately, they will face once
again the great power of the Thai people.
We, the Korean social movements, demand the following:
1. The military junta immediately stop its political intervention!
2. Immediate restoration of the Constitution of 1997.
3. Protection of basic democratic rights including the freedom of the
press, guarantees of safety to the demonstration on October 6 and the
Thai Social Forum.
September 29, 2006
The Korean Social Movements in Solidarity with the Thai People against the Coup:
1. Seoul branch, Democratic Labor Party of Korea
2. Friends of Asia
3. Imagination for International Solidarity
4. All Together
5. Citizens’ Solidarity for Human Rights
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