History: Where are the student leaders of the 14th October 1973 up-rising today?

ThailandOn the week around 14 October 1973, I was about 14 living at my father’s house, on a major road, Payathai Road, where at a nearby corner, back then was the Thai tax collection department. The protesting students, who went to and from protesting the tax department, as part of their overall protest strategy, masses passed my father’s house often, coming and going, and would often be met with security forces.

One day, my father bought me to look at several windows of the house, where there were bullets holes and he boarded up the house. After the 14 October 1973 student up-rising ended a few days, my father put his children, including me, in a van, and told the driver to take us to look at Bangkok. I went touring Bangkok and saw many parts of Bangkok, was like after war had hit.

A few days latter, me and a bunch of school-mates, went around Bangkok together, dressed in our school uniform. At one corner, there was several police pick-ups, filled with police. Being young teens, sensing the excitement of the up-rising that just past, we waved to the police and said high. The police, carrying rifles, suddenly pointed their rifles to us, and said “We are not your friend.”

Thai up-rising, produced many student heroes, but the best known is Theerayouth and Seksan, who both became teachers at Thammasart University. Theerayugh went for publicity, making a once a year political analysis, that is always very controversial, except that when Abhisit was the Prime Minister, for that 2 years, Theerayuth claimed he was ill, and made no analysis. Seksan, took a different root, shying away from notoriety and focused on teaching, with only once in a great while, will he make a statement.

  • Seksan & Theerayuth

Many of those who lead the 14 October 1973 up-rising, have turned to support the Fascist Yellow Shirts, for some un-known and complex philosophy, but namely it was a wider fight with capitalism and globalism. Theerayuth, for many years now, is known in Thailand as being Yellow Shirts leaning. While Seksan remained like many wise guys, who shut himself off in a cave, thinking and dwelling.

The latest from Seksan, on this year anniversary of 14 October 1973, is that the Thai society had been changing, with the rise of the new Thai middle-class, still having a great deal of roots with the grassroots. Seksan, described Thai politics today, as a conflict between the new middle class and the established middle class.

Theerayuth, perhaps continuing with his “Hatred” towards Thaksin and Yingluck, attribute today’s political situation in Thailand, to being about Thaksin and Yingluck’s crap. He in fact, used the word shit several times in describing Thaksin and Yingluck.

  • Wikipedia says:

The popular uprising of 14 October 1973 “October 14 Event”; or Wan Maha Wippayok, “Great Tragedy Day”[1]) was a watershed event in Thailand‘s history. The uprising resulted in the end of the ruling military dictatorship and altered the Thai political system. Notably, it highlighted the growing influence of Thai university students in politics.

On 6 October, Thirayuth Boonmee and ten other political activists were arrested for distributing leaflets in crowded places in Bangkok such as Bang Lamphu, Siam Square, Pratunam, urging support for an early drafting of the constitution.[14] The ruling government used a decree banning gatherings of more than five people to arrest them. The other arrestees were Thirayuth, Prapansak Kamolpetch, Boonsong Chalethorn, Bandhit Hengnilrat, Visa Kanthap, Thanya Chunkathatharn, Thawee Muenthikorn, Montri Juengsirinarak, Nopporn Suwanpanich, Preedi Boonsue and Chaiwat Suravichai. They were taken to the police headquarters and their homes were searched.[14]

On 7 October, Kongkiat Kongka, accused of being a member of a group advocating early promulgation of the permanent constitution, was also arrested.[14]

On 8 October, the twelve arrestees were denied bail and were also accused by Deputy Prime Minister Praphas Charusathien of being linked to a plot to overthrow the government.[14]

On 9 October, more than 2,000 students from Thammasat University demonstrated at an anti-government rally. After the rally, the students held an all-night vigil, at which they were joined by students from Chulalongkorn University and several teacher training colleges. Khaisaeng Suksai, a former member of parliament, was also arrested, bringing the total number of arrestees to thirteen.[14]

On 10 October, rallies in Bangkok swelled as more students from other student organizations joined the protests.[14] The government prepared to react by quietly setting up the Crisis Control Centre with Praphas Charusathien as its director.[14]

On 11 October, Praphas agreed to meet with the students, who demanded the release of the 13 prisoners, but refused to meet their demands. By this point, the rally had moved to the grounds of Thammasat University to accommodate its growing size, with the number of protesters now reaching 50,000.[14]

On 12 October, the government announced that it would release the thirteen prisoners on bail, but the students rejected the offer, stating that they would only accept the unconditional release of the prisoners.[14] Money is being contributed by members of the public for use in the protest.[14]

On 13 October, the crowd, which had swelled to more than 400,000 (including members of the public) decided to march to the Democracy Monument to demand the release of the prisoners. The government soon agreed to the demands and also promised that the permanent constitution would be promulgated by October 1974. With their demands met, the students agreed to go back to their universities. However, about 200,000 students refused to disband and their leader, Seksan, decided to lead them to the palace to seek advice from King Bhumibol.[14]

On 14 October, the students reached the palace but were met by the king’s representative, who said that Bhumibol wanted the students to disband. As the students disbanded, the assistant director of the police ordered barricades to be formed to disperse the students in an orderly, single direction. The large size of the crowd meant many were not able to disperse and a request for another exit was refused by the police. This resulted in more unhappiness among the students. It is not clear how the violence began, but reports soon filtered in about violence against the students as the crowd became more restive. In the early morning, bombs exploded near the royal palace as police began attacking the students there. By late morning, there were acts of vandalism and violence by both sides as the situation spun out of control. The government soon brought in tanks, helicopters and soldiers to aid the police. More than a hundred students were killed and many buildings in and around Rajdamnern Avenue were set on fire as the number of demonstrators grew to more than 500,000. The soldiers finally withdrew in the evening and around 7:15 pm the king announced on television and radio that Thanom’s military government had resigned.[14][14]

On 15 October, violence still continued around the police headquarters, with students protesting the fact that Thanom remained head of the armed forces.[15] Only when it was announced that Thanom, Praphas and Thanom’s son Narong Kittikachorn, who was also married to Praphas’ daughter, had left the country did calm finally return to Bangkok.

The toppling of the regime by the student movement ushered in a period (1973–1976) in Thai politics termed “democratic”. However, in hindsight the period was not democratic in most senses of the word. The strong resurgence of the right-wing and the military in late 1974 began a program of politically motivated assassinations of prominent peasants, farmers and student leaders. Ironically, after the end of the Thanom regime, the political repression that forced radical students to toe the NSCT line also dissipated. This led to the breakup of the student movement into disparate parts.[23]

2 thoughts on “History: Where are the student leaders of the 14th October 1973 up-rising today?

  1. going back to the Decembrists of 1825, many revolutions are jettisoned by an elite group. The real poor and innocent get dragged along and used as cannon fodder. not to be too highbrow, America is an exception to this rule. there is still hope for Thailand and blogs such as this will help tremendously towards stability, civil inclusiveness and prosperity for all.

  2. “Many of those who lead the 14 October 1973 up-rising, have turned to support the Fascist Yellow Shirts, for some un-known and complex philosophy, but namely it was a wider fight with capitalism and globalism”

    this cite clearly shows the point of view of author – he is a communist, and anybody who does not agree with him should be labeled as “fascists” labeling opponents and a desire to shut them up is one of the main feature of commies…

    look at Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar -these are countries where communist won, and what are results? they are the poorest countries of fourth world now. Vietnam is getting better, because it’s Communist party leaders were enough wise to reject communism in economy

    People like you never learn the lesson.

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