October’s ‘forgotten’ victims remembered

October's 'forgotten' victims remembered - The Nation, October 6, 2003
Today (October 6, 2003) marks the 27th anniversary of the October 6, 1976 massacre of 46 students and the arrest of more than 3,000 others at Thammasat University, an event that has not been properly recognised and whose lessons have not been fully learned, according to many who were involved in it, as well as students of the history of the era...
With many participants unwilling to talk or write fully and openly for fear of repercussions, two contradictory versions of the incident persist.
The pro-democracy movement remembers October 6 as a tragic day when unarmed students protesting at the return of former dictator Thanom Kittikachorn, who had been ousted three years earlier, were brutally massacred by right-wing mobs armed with war weapons including grenades, machine-guns and handheld anti-tank rockets as a pretext for the military to stage a coup d'etat to overthrow|the government of MR Seni Pramoj.
The version propagated by the right-wing government that took power had it that the students had been armed communists, including some Vietnamese infiltrators, whose aim had been to overthrow the monarchy. This allegedly prompted angry mobs - not police - to kill students.
"It is regrettable that despite the efforts of police to save them, four students were lynched. Some police brutality has been alleged, but in reality most of the police. . . restrained themselves," reads the official "Facts of the Incident on 6 October, 1976", published in English by the National Administrative Reform Council in October 1976, immediately after the incident.
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