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
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
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