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Last Friday (15 March), a group of Red Shirts seeking justice for victims of the 2010 Red Shirt crackdowns were blocked by the police when they sought to meet former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra at Pra That Doi Suthep Temple in Chiang Mai.

The group of protesters standing next to the road. One is holding a sign saying "when are you going to demand justice for the Red Shirts?"

The group of 4 protesters stood on the footpath opposite Chiang Mai University, on the route to Doi Suthep, to wait for Thaksin. They were seen holding signs calling for justice for Red Shirts protesters who died during the 2010 crackdown.

A large number of plainclothes officers were stationed in the area during the gathering. Two police vans were also parked in front of them when Thaksin’s entourage passed by on the way back from Doi Suthep. Thaksin’s vehicle also not seen among the entourage.

Nim, one of the Red Shirt protesters, referred to Thaksin as the sole survivor of the 2010 crackdown to return home. She said that many Red Shirt protesters died during the crackdown, and condemned Thaksin for lying to them and using them.

“You’re living comfortably on the corpses of hundreds of Red Shirts. A lot of people were injured, became disabled, and had to go to jail for nothing. Don’t claim that [the Yingluck Shinawatra government] compensated the dead. Money can’t bring them back. No one who went out to fight wanted to die,” Nim said.

Another Red Shirt protester said that they had many things to tell Thaksin. They said they were aware that he had chosen a different path but felt that he should not have treated them with such disregard.

“You did this and you’re the only one who survived. What about other people? You came back proudly. You can go wherever you want. You’re at home. How is your house like prison? It has everything. You are living in comfort. What about the Red Shirts?” They asked.

Police vans were parked along the road, blocking the protesters from view.

Having been detained at the Police Hospital in August 2023, Thaksin was released on parole on 18 February. He visited Chiang Mai, his hometown and the Pheu Thai Party’s former stronghold prior to the 2023 general election, between 14 – 16 March. Accompanied by his daughter Paetongtarn Shinawatra, now Pheu Thai party leader, Thaksin visited several locations in the city and was greeted by local politicians and supporters. Thammanat Prompao, Minister for Agriculture and Cooperatives, also accompanied him during his visit to the Rajapruek Royal Park and Klong Mae Kha, Chiang Mai’s new tourist spot.

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