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No political goals can justify violence
Publication Date : 20-01-2014
The following is the Nation Group's comment on the ongoing protests marred by violence in Bangkok:
Democracy - which all of us are calling for - can never be achieved through violence. Those who resort to violence to further their struggle are incompetent and cowardly. A victory - even for one day - achieved on the bodies of the dead will never be an honourable one.
All parties that have committed violence during the anti-government rally over the past week must be condemned in the strongest terms for their cowardly action against unarmed people.
Since the Bangkok Shutdown campaign began a week ago, bomb attacks and shootings have claimed at least one life and injured nearly 100 others.
Whether one agrees or disagrees with the protesters' political views and their actions, nobody has a right to hurt them.
The government might regard the protest as illegal - and the protesters have indeed violated many laws in an effort to disturb the social order as a tactic to achieve their political goals - but the government cannot run away from its responsibility to provide safety to all citizens. Police and other security officials appear to have failed to provide enough security for the protesters. The authorities should make a greater effort to protect them.
The authorities are obliged to investigate violent incidents in order to bring the wrongdoers to justice. Investigations and evidence gathering should be conducted in a transparent manner. Unclear information and sketchy evidence must not be disclosed to attach blame to either side for political purposes. False information and half-truths will not make things clearer, but will only stoke the conflict, and could have negative repercussions for the social divide.
Protest leaders must share some of the responsibility. They cannot simply point the finger at the government and authorities. They know very well that their protest is a risky one and vulnerable to attack at all times of the day and night. They must take sufficient steps to protect the protesters. Tears, flowers and money can never compensate for loss of life. The protest leaders are obligated to protect those people who come out to share their political ambitions.