Thai pro-democracy activists banned from 1976 massacre anniversary event

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The 44th anniversary of the Oct 06, 1976 Thammasat University massacre forum will not allow two leaders of the United Front of Thammasat and Demonstration (UFTD) and a human rights lawyer from speaking, organisers say.

The Thammasat University Massacre, or the October 06 event as it is known in Thailand, was a violent crackdown by Thai police and lynching by right-wing paramilitaries and bystanders against leftist protesters who had occupied the university and the adjacent Sanam Luang, on October 06, 1976.

Official reports state that 46 were killed and 167 were wounded, while unofficial reports state that more than 100 demonstrators were killed.

UFTD leaders, Parit “Penguin” Chiwarak, Panusaya “Rung” Sithijirawattanakul, and lawyer Anon Nampa are not permitted to speak at this year’s forum, said Krisadang Nutcharus, the committee member, in his Facebook post yesterday.

He said the university executives had offered no explanation, only saying they felt uncomfortable with the presence of the three pro-democracy leaders at the forum.

The kingdom has been rocked by recent anti-government protests, which could turn violent. Although recent rallies have been largely peaceful, the events of Oct 6, 1976 are still a sensitive issue.

The forum is planned for the Sri Burapha auditorium at the university’s Tha Prachan campus, Mr. Krisadang said, offering his apology that the three will not be able to share their thoughts.

“[The decision] makes us understand the attitudes, views and cowardice of these executives,” he said.

“The reason we organise the Oct. 06, 1976 event is because we want to urge Thai society to listen to differing opinions.”

Mr. Krisadang added the young had sacrificed their lives during the massacre to protect rights and democracy. He said they fell because they had differing opinions.

Meanwhile, the Free Youth group has announced it will hold its next rally on Oct. 14 at Democracy Monument.

The UFTD, which has amplified its monarchy reform demand, is expected to take part in the upcoming rally. (Source: Bangkok Post)

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