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Student protests in Thailand, 1976 (audio)
In 1976, university students at Thammasat University in Bangkok protested against the growing power of the army over the civilian government. The protests were violently put down by the police and right wing paramilitaries. Thongchai Winichakul, a protest leader, describes using a loudhailer to beg the police to stop shooting at the protestors. An extract from a news report at the time describes the brutal reaction of paramilitaries and police to the protestors. The protests had wider political implications in Thailand as the civilian government was seen as weak and Thailand was surrounded by Communist countries. An extract from a news report describes the arrests of students and the actions of right wing demonstrators against the government. Thongchai was arrested and feared he would die in prison. The military staged a coup against the civilian government and the country returned to dictatorship. Power struggles continue in Thailand today, but Thongchai now lives in America. This clip from Witness is published on the World Service website: bbc.co.uk/programmes/p004t1hd. and was first broadcast on 06 October 2010. Please note this is an audio clip and only available in Flash.
Citizenship and Modern Studies
Politics and Government: The Democratic and Electoral Processes
Like the report on the Hungarian Uprising, this is an interesting account with graphic descriptions of the actions of the authorities. What was so important that young people would sacrifice their lives? Would young people today be prepared to go to such lengths? What justification could the authorities give for their actions? Compare with contemporary opposition to political oppression, e.g. China, Burma etc.
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