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14 May 2010 - Live fire zones declared

Witness Statements

Anonymous Witness No. 18

On May 14, 2010, Anonymous Witness No. 18, a Red Shirt, went to Lumphini Park to investigate a report that soldiers were assembling there and planning an attack on the Red Shirts. The witness was unarmed. The witness saw numerous soldiers outside the park fence, aiming their rifles into the park, and soldiers inside the park, carrying shotguns. As soon as the witness saw the soldiers, the witness stopped. At that point the witness heard a single shot that hit the witness in the foot and then saw another soldier, holding an M-16 rifle with a scope, shooting at the witness. The witness was hit in the right lower leg. The witness drove off, but the soldiers continued to shoot after the witness, thirty or forty times. The witness’ right calf and ankle were completely shattered.

Anonymous Witness No. 19

This witness described a similar scene, on May 14 at Lumphini Park. As the witness entered the park, the witness noticed fifty or sixty soldiers lined up outside the fence surrounding the park, aiming their rifles through the fence. One of the soldiers opened fire with a shotgun, hitting the witness in the left shoulder. The witness ran towards a tree, while the shooting continued. The soldiers fired at the witness at least a hundred times. The witness was hit again, with a rifle bullet. The witness jumped into a pond to hide and swam underwater. Upon re-emerging, the witness saw three soldiers standing in the pond, looking for the witness, shooting into the water, trying to hit the witness. The witness jumped out of the pond, ran away, and was hit a third time, in the left thigh, by a rifle bullet. After being treated in a hospital, the witness was placed in a jail cell and chained to a bed, under arrest for violating the emergency decree. The witness was chained to the bed twenty-four hours a day, and released to a regular room after a month. The witness has not been formally charged with any crime. The witness was summoned at the District Attorney’s office to provide testimony twice, but the date was postponed in both instances.

Anonymous Witness No. 20

This witness reported having spotted soldiers near Soi Ngam Duplee on May 14. The soldiers shot at the witness with live bullets. The witness saw a female merchant, about fifty years of age, shot to death. One man, aged about thirty, was shot in the cheek. A young man with a tattoo was shot in his backbone. In total, the witness saw six people shot; four of them were killed, including the merchant woman. The sixth man was recording a video with his mobile phone when he was shot. The witness and about thirty other people took shelter in a blind alley to the Lumphini Boxing stadium. They were violently forced out. Soldiers in command were violent and forced the people to crouch, while they kicked them and hit them with guns and pointed guns at them. The witness received a reduced sentence for violating the Emergency Decree after the witness provided a confession.

Anonymous Witness 8

Meanwhile, to the north of Ratchaprasong, at the corner of Ratchatewi Rd. near the Din Daeng triangle, Anonymous Witness 8 testified to have seen soldiers shoot with live ammunition, without any warning, towards a crowd which he was part. People started running to flee the gunfire. The witness was shot in the right upper arm.

Anonymous Witness No. 21

This witness is a member of Red Ayutthaya. On May 14, the witness was in the Ratchaprarop Rd. area, where the witness saw soldiers preparing for a crackdown against protesters. The soldiers blocked the area and tried to put up a fence. They seemed very well prepared, as if they had been practicing this before. They started to fire into the crowd. The witness ran around the corner near the Century Hotel, but was shot as he tried to escape.

Anonymous Witness 12

This witness is a volunteer police officer in Bangkok. On May 14, in the Ratchaprarop area in front of the Indra Hotel, he and his wife were forced to stop because soldiers were preventing people from crossing the road. This was at 18:30. In total, thirty people had gathered in that location; none carried weapons. Across the street there was a pedestrian bridge crossing Ratchaprarop Rd., guarded by eight soldiers. The soldiers were shooting at anything that moved, in any direction. He saw them shoot at least fifty times. Soldiers also shot towards the hotel, preventing the group from leaving. At approximately19:00 hours, a woman tried to cross Ratchaprarop Rd., but before she could get onto the road she was shot by one of the soldiers, falling to the ground. At approximately 20:00 hrs, the witness saw two motorcycles, each with a single driver. The soldiers on the pedestrian bridge shot at these motorcycles and both riders fell. Minutes later, there was an explosion in front of the Indra Hotel. Prior to the explosion, the witness saw a red laser pointed in their area, moving around apparently at random. Then it stopped, but a green laser appeared next to it. Immediately thereafter, the blast occurred. Moments later he saw the red and green laser lights again and there was a second explosion, three meters away from him. Three people were injured, including him. He suffered a shrapnel wound in his back.

Anonymous Witness No. 23

Between May 15 and May 18, Anonymous Witness No. 23 joined the protest at Din Daeng. In this area, the witness saw soldiers shooting a woman in the head on May 18. She was a trash collector carrying a white bag. She was not even protesting. The soldiers were very young and shot at everyone in that area, including motorcycle drivers and local people.

Some locations like Ratchaprarop Road to the north and Rama IV Road to the south were declared by the military to be “live fire zones”.

given the authority to shoot the mostly unarmed demonstrators on sightThe official government position was that the rules of engagement had been revised to permit live fire only against “clearly identified elements armed with weapons”. The reality, however, was that the First Region Army was given the authority to shoot the mostly unarmed demonstrators on sight, as documented in a wealth of detailed eyewitness accounts like the one written by photojournalist Nick Nostitz. A number of passers-by were injured or killed by military fire, among them a ten-year-old boy who was shot in the stomach near the Makkasan Airport Link station and later pronounced died in hospital. Journalists also appeared to have been intentionally targeted. France 24 reporter Nelson Rand was shot three times on Is it OK to shoot foreigners and journalists?May 14, on the southeastern edge of Lumphini Park, while Italian photographer Fabio Polenghi died from a bullet wound to the chest on May 19 — a man believed to be an Army officer in plain clothes was photographed removing his camera. One eyewitness behind Army lines at Rama IV Road reports a soldier asking a commanding officer: “Is it OK to shoot foreigners and journalists?”

repeatedly opened fire on medicsMost disturbingly, the military closed off the “red zones” to emergency medical staff and repeatedly opened fire on medics as they attempted to assist injured demonstrators.

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