RATCHAPRASONG, APRIL 26, 2010: The Bangkok regional office of the International committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has agreed to a request by the Academic and People’s Network Group (APNG) to send independent observers to the red-shirts pro-democracy rally at Ratchaprasong.
The decision to send observers followed a request by the APNG claiming protesters had already been, and risked being further, abused by the government and military.
The letter requesting the CRC deploy independent observers went on to say the group feared the protests, which have largely been peaceful apart from when the Thai military attacked protesters on April 10, had reached a crucial point and it was feared violence will be initiated against civilians and blamed on the red-shirts by the aristocracy for the purpose of justifying the current state of emergency declaration and/or the possible launching of a coup d’état.
The group’s letter says the red-shirts only aim is for Thailand to have new elections and to operate in a democratic manner. Despite this, the APNG said the government is presenting a one-sided report of the ongoing protest through its control and intimidation of state-run and commercial media and the group feared more civilian deaths could occur.
The APNG said the ICRCs jurisdiction to was stated under the Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, relating to the Protection of Victims of Non-international Armed Conflicts (Protocol II), 8 June 1977.
Almost immediately after receiving the submission by the APNG the Bangkok regional office of the ICRC responded and indicated its willingness to deploy independent observers to the Ratchaprasong rally site.
Today is day 44 of the red-shirts pro-democracy protest against the government of Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva and the 24th day protesters have occupied the Ratchaprasong shopping precinct in the heart of Bangkok.