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Filipino activists denounce crackdown in Thailand

Filipino activists called on the Thai government Monday to take full responsibility for the violent crackdown on Red Shirt protesters in a picket outside the Thai Embassy in Manila. Protesters carried in their arms an activist wrapped head-to-toe in medical bandages to symbolize human rights violations in Thailand. About a dozen led the noisy picket, saying human rights and democracy were the biggest casualties in the Bangkok unrest, which ended last week with the military crackdown that killed 16 people, most of them Red Shirt demonstrators. A total of 85 people were killed in the two-month protest that started off peacefully and degenerated into violence. Despite appeals from the international community, the Thai government "failed miserably to exercise maximum restraint" and the world saw Thai soldiers shooting protesters with live ammunition, said protest leader Egoy Bans from a group called Initiatives for International Dialogue. "Thailand says that it is now on its way to rebuild the nation. But part of it should be a guarantee that human rights must be protected at all costs, especially in times of conflict," he said, calling for a peaceful dialogue that will address the root causes of the problem. Pro-democracy activists in the Philippines have led two "people power" uprisings that toppled two governments in the last two decades, and many have expressed support for the Thai anti-government movement, known as the Red Shirts. The Red Shirts demand the prime minister resign and call early elections. — AP
Tags: thailand