Thai leader orders probe into Bangkok bloodshed

Thailand's leader promised to launch an independent probe into "all events" surrounding the Red Shirt anti-government protests, and yesterday called for reconciliation to heal the deep political divisions that led to widespread violence and 83 deaths in two months.

Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva, addressing the nation in a televised speech, made no mention of new elections, a key demand of the Red Shirts. "Fellow citizens, we all live in the same house. Now our house has been damaged, we have to help each other," Mr Abhisit said.

"We can certainly repair damaged infrastructure and buildings, but the important thing is to heal the emotional wounds and restore unity among the Thai people," the Oxford-educated Mr Abhisit said in an emotional speech that contrasted with his typical academic style.

He said order had been restored in Bangkok, where soldiers overran a Red Shirt encampment on Wednesday after a week of street fighting. The crackdown followed two months of violence in which 83 people died and more than 1,800 were injured. Mr Abhisit acknowledged the "huge challenges" in overcoming the divisions, which he said can be achieved through a five-point reconciliation plan that he had announced earlier.

"That plan is based on the principle of participation, democracy and justice," he said. It includes economic and media reforms and aims to reduce social and economic divisions in Thai society, which the protesters, mostly the rural and urban poor, had railed against.

They say Mr Abhisit came to power illegitimately and is oblivious to their plight. The Red Shirt protests began in March to demand his resignation, the dissolution of Parliament and immediate elections. But yesterday finance minister Korn Chatikavanij said Mr Abhisit's earlier offer to hold 14 November elections was on hold until political passions have subsided and the security situation has stabilised.

Mr Abhisit said the government will allow due process of law and parliamentary democracy to resolve the country's problems. "At the same time, that plan will include an independent investigation of all the events that have taken place during the protests," he said without elaborating.

An army crackdown to remove the Red Shirts from their first encampment on 10 April left 25 people dead. Another 15 were killed on Wednesday when the army overran their second, heavily barricaded encampment.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Property Negotiator - OTE £20,000+

£16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This family owned, independent ...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Spanish Speaking

£17000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - German Speaking

£17000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Japanese Speaking

£17000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: If you are fluent in Japanese a...

Day In a Page

The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Compton Cricket Club

Compton Cricket Club

Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

It helps a winner keep on winning
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'