Launching of an Appeal against Repression in Thailand

Danielle Sabai and Pierre Rousset

The crackdown on the opposition in Thailand and the abuses of the regime have not been met with the solidarity response and the international condemnations which the situation required. The regime can thus freely operate and stifle the democratic movement.

News from Thailand are alarming: hundreds of people detained for violations of the Emergency Decree, including children; injured people are chained to their hospital bed, several assassinations of local leaders of the Red Shirts have taken place. The country is moving deeper into an authoritarian and military regime. The elite are even considering postponing the elections for six years, thus giving the Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva the possibility of leading the country for ten years against the will of the majority of Thai citizens.

Thai society is deeply unequal in every respect. The red shirts have expressed loud and clear their determination to fight the injustices they suffer: they express a class movement as well as one defending regional diversity, against the establishment in Bangkok.

The Red Shirts movement is not without divisions and problems. Some support the return of former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, a corrupt politician. But overwhelmingly, the movement expresses the revolt of the downtrodden of society whose demands are democracy and social justice.

By demonstrating in the streets of Bangkok, the Red Shirts have only been exercising a basic right: the right to express one’s political views and demands. Abhisit Vejjajiva bears full responsibility for the repression and the casualties because, rather than holding meaningful negotiations, he gambled, in vain, on the disintegration of the movement. He then used the repressive legal arsenal (accusations of conspiracy against the monarchy and of terrorism), and finally organized a bloodbath.

This appeal has two simple aims: kick-starting solidarity on the international level, and calling for the Thai regime to stop the repression against the Red Shirts, and to respect fundamental freedoms.

More than a hundred university lecturers, researchers, writers, journalists, trade union and political activists, and elected representatives from all regions of the world have already signed the appeal. New signatures are expected.

Against Repression in Thailand

For more than two months, the Red Shirts have mobilised with decisiveness and purpose in the streets of Bangkok to support their demands of democracy and social justice.

The government led by Abhisit Vejjajiva chose to respond to these demands with violence and repression. It committed a serious violation against human rights when it authorised the use of military hardware to dissolve the demonstrations. The result was extremely serious: there were at least 89 dead and nearly 2000 wounded.

Today, democratic rights are not respected: there are 99 arrest warrants against opponents. The places where most of the detainees are held are kept secret. The government has imposed censorship on the alternative media. The penalties incurred are especially severe: from 3 to 15 years for “lese-majesty” to the death penalty for “terrorism”.

The Red Shirts are being treated by the government as if they were “terrorists”. It is a complex movement, but its members are mainly ordinary poor people whose most elementary political rights –like the respect due to the result of an election—have been ignored.

The Thai government can continue to repress the Thai people freely, because its constant violations against human rights have not been confronted by international solidarity and condemnation. We make a call to all progressive and democratic organizations to demand the end of the repression and the respect of fundamental rights in Thailand; to start an international campaign to obtain the freedom of political prisoners and the end of intimidation and inculpation of the Red Shirts.

We demand from the Thai government that it raises the State of Urgency and immediately re-establishes democratic freedoms in the country; that it ends the repression against the Red Shirts and that all prisoners are freed without any delay.

First signatories:

  1. Samir ABI, General Secretary, Attac (Togo)
  2. Gilbert ACHCAR, SOAS,  Professor of the University of London (UK)
  3. Christophe AGUITON, Researcher (France)
  4. Osman AKINHAY, Writer and editor of Mesele Revue (Turkey)
  5. Greg ALBO, Professor at the York University, Toronto (Canada)
  6. Josep Maria ANTENTAS, Professor of sociology, Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona (Catalonia)
  7. Daniel ANTONINI, International Secretary of PRCF (France)
  8. Zely ARIANE, Spokesperson of KPRM-PRD (Indonesia)
  9. Salvador LOPEZ ARNAL, Writer and Professor-tutor of Mathematics , UNED (Spain)
  10. AU Loong-Yu, Editorial board member of China Labor Net (Hong Kong)
  11. Walter BAIER, Coordinator of the European network Transform! Editor of the magazine Transform!, Vienne (Austria)
  12. Jean BATOU, Professor at the University of Lausanne (Switzerland)
  13. Pierre BEAUDET, Professor at the University of Ottawa (Canada)
  14. Walden BELLO, Member of the Congress, Akbayan representative (Philippines)
  15. Paul BENEDEK, Thai Red Australia (Australia)
  16. Olivier BESANCENOT, Spokesperson of NPA (France)
  17. Hugo BLANCO, Director of “Lucha Indígena”¨, (Peru)
  18. Saumen BOSE, Radical Socialist (India)
  19. Tapan BOSE, Radical Socialist  (India)
  20. Peter Boyle, National Convener, Socialist Alliance (Australia)
  21. Alex Callinicos, Professor, chair of European Studies at King’s College London (UK)
  22. Porferia CARPINA, KASAMMAKA (Philippines)
  23. Mabel CARUMBA, Mindanao Peoples’ Peace Movement (Philippines)
  24. Kunal CHATTOPADHYAY, Professor of Comparative Literature, Jadavpur University, Radical Socialist (India)
  25. Kamal MITRA CHENOY, Chair, Centre for Comparative Politics & Political Theory, School of International Studies,  Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi (India)
  26. Ashok CHOUDHARY, National Forum of Forest People and Forest Workers (India)
  27. Annick COUPE, Spokesperson of Union Syndicale Solidaires (France)
  28. Cyc CUABO, ERDAC, Inc. (Philippines)
  29. Lucile DAUMAS, Attac (Marocco)
  30. Sushovan DHAR, Radical Socialist (India)
  31. Jean-Michel DOLIVO, Lawyer and MP, Lausanne (Switzerland)
  32. Jacques Fath, international head, PCF (France)
  33. Paulina FERNANDEZ CHRISTLIEB, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (Mexico)
  34. Carlos FERNANDEZ LIRIA, Professor of the Universidad Complutense de Madrid (Spain)
  35. Mano GANESAN, Convener of Civil Monitoring Commission (Sri Lanka)
  36. George GASTAUD, Philosopher, National Secretary of PRCF (France)
  37. Franck GAUDICHAUD – University of Grenoble (France)
  38. Elisabeth GAUTHIER, Managing Director of Espaces Marx, co-Editor of the European revue Transform!  (France)
  39. P.T. GEORGE, Intercultural Resources, Delhi (India)
  40. Susan GEORGE, Writer (France)
  41. Jocelyne HALLER, Member of the Constitutional Assembly of Geneva county (Switzerland)
  42. Adolfo GILLY, Historian, Professor at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (Mexico)
  43. Sam GINDIN, Packer Visitor in Social Justice, York University (Canada)
  44. Rufino GONZAGA, Ranao Tri-People Movement for Genuine Peace and Development (Philippines)
  45. Karl GRÜNBERG, Trade-Union Secretary, SSP, Geneva (Switzerland)
  46. Sébastien GUEX, Professor at the University of Lausanne (Switzerland)
  47. Priyani GUNARATNA, Rural Services of SLBC (Sri Lanka)
  48. Shubhra GURURANI, Associate Professor, Department of Anthropology, York University, Toronto (Canada)
  49. Jean-Marie HARRIBEY, Economist, Professor at the Université Bordeaux IV (France)
  50. Nasir HASHIM, State Assemblyman (Malaysia)
  51. Mazher HUSSAIN, COVA (India)
  52. Linus JAYATILAKE, President of the United Federation of Labor (Sri Lanka)
  53. Andrée JELK-PEILA, President of the Public Service Trade-Union Cartel, Geneva (Switzerland)
  54. Dr. JEYAKUMAR, Member of Parliament (Malaysia)
  55. Abdul KHALID, Focal Person, CADTM-Pakistan (Pakistan)
  56. Alain KRIVINE, Former European MP (France)
  57. Hayri KOZANOGLU, Professor at the İstanbul University of Marmara, former President of the ÖDP (Turkey)
  58. Zbigniew Marcin KOWALEWSKI, Researcher and editor (Poland)
  59. Herman KUMARA, National Fisheries Solidarity Movement (Sri Lanka)
  60. Kenji KUNITOMI, JCRL (Japan)
  61. Max LANE, Asian Studies, University of Sydney (Australia)
  62. Bernard LANGLOIS, researcher North/South relations (France)
  63. Ronald LARA, IIRE-Manila (Philippines)
  64. Cha N. LAVANDER, Mindanao Tri-People Youth Center (Philippines)
  65. Doug LORIMER, Editor of Direct Action (Australia)
  66. Francisco LOUCA, MP, Bloc de Gauche representative (Portugal)
  67. Javier MAESTRO, Professor at the Universidad Complutense de Madrid, (Spain)
  68. Michael Löwy, Professor, Emerited research director, CNRS (France)
  69. Acmad MACATIMBOL, Lanao Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (Philippines)
  70. Lisa MACDONALD, International Relations Convener, Socialist Alliance (Australia)
  71. Ign MAHENDRA K, Chairperson, Working People Association (PRP) (Indonesia)
  72. Claire MARTENOT, member of the Constitutional Assembly of the Geneva county (Switzerland)
  73. Soma MARIK, Associate Professor of History, RKSM Vivekananda Vidyabhavan, member, Nari Nirjatan Pratirodh Mancha (Forum Against Women’s Oppression, Calcutta) (India)
  74. Emre ÖNGUN, Assistant Professor of the European University of Lefke, Head of Applied Sciences School (Northern Cyprus)
  75. Gustave MASSIAH, Founding member of CEDETIM /IPAM (France)
  76. Roberto MONTOYA, Writer, Madrid (Spain)
  77. Braulio MORO, Journalist, Radio France Internationale, Latin America Section (France)
  78. Aldjia MOULAÏ, ACOR SOS Racisme (Switzerland)
  79. P.K. MURTHY, Citu (India)
  80. Saïd NAJIHI, Attac (Marocco)
  81. Alessandro PELIZZARI, Trade-union secretary, Unia, Geneva (Switzerland)
  82. William A. PELZ, Doctor at the Institute of Working Class History, Chicago (USA)
  83. John PERCY, RSP National Secretary (Australia)
  84. Manuel PEREZ ROCHA, Associate Fellow, Global Economy Project. Institut for Policy Studies, Washington (USA)
  85. Philippe PIGNARRE, Editor (France)
  86. Tommy ARDIAN PRATAMA, Institute for Crisis and Alternative Development Strategy (Indonesia)
  87. Mimoun RAHMANI, Economist, ATTAC and CADTM Maroc (Marocco)
  88. Pierre ROUSSET, Europe solidaire sans frontières (France)
  89. Danielle SABAI, Journalist (France)
  90. Enis Riza SAKIZLI, Film Director (Turkey)
  91. Ma. Gittel SAQUILABON, Sumpay Mindanao (Philippines)
  92. Mehmet SOGANCI, President of the Chamber of Engineers and Architects (Turkey)
  93. Tanie SUANO, CONZARRD (Philippines)
  94. Aparna SUNDAR, Assistant Professor, Department of Politics and Public Administration, Ryerson University, Toronto (Canada)
  95. Hakan TAHMEZ, Spokesperson of the Peace Assembly (Turkey)
  96. Farooq TARIQ, Spokesperson of the LPP (Pakistan)
  97. Alper TAS, President of ÖDP (Turkey)
  98. Eric TOUSSAINT, CADTM (Belgique)
  99. Terry TOWNSEND, Editor, Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal (Australia)
  100. Enzo TRAVERSO, Assistant Professor at the University of Picardie (France)
  101. Charles-André UDRY, Editor (Switzerland)
  102. Ahmet ÜMIT, Writer (Turkey)
  103. Murat UYURKULAK, Writer (Turkey)
  104. Achin VANAIK, Professor of International Relations and Global Politics, Head of the Department of Political Science, University of Delhi (India)
  105. Pierre VANEK, Secretary of solidaritéS and former MP of the Federal Parliament (Switzerland)
  106. Vikramabahu KARUNARATNE, University of Peradeniya (Sri Lanka)
  107. Esther VIVAS, memberof the Centro de Estudios sobre Movimientos Sociales de la Universidad Pompeu Fabra (Catalonia)
  108. Peter WATERMAN, Reinventing Labour (Netherlands)
  109. Yigit BENER, Writer, (Turkey)

To sign the call:  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

(Leave your first name, family name, quality and country)

The list of signatories can be viewed on the ESSF website (Section 17803):