Thai police stops Tiananmen massacre commemoration in Bangkok

Applications to hold a commemoration event on the anniversary of Tiananmen massacre outside the Chinese Embassy was stopped by Thai police, organizers told Thai Enquirer on Tuesday.

The application, for ten people to hold a candlelight vigil to remember the victims of the crackdown on June 4, was rejected by the police who said that there were concerns about the possible spread of coronavirus.

“The police also told me that they had previous discussions with the Chinese embassy about holding the protest and decided to reject my application,” Netiwit Chotiphatphaisal, one of the event organizers, told Thai Enquirer.

“This is an event that is happening in Thailand, what rights does a foreign embassy have to stop a protest.”

Netiwit said he has held the protest twice previously and it was suspicious why this year, in the middle of negative press about Beijing’s dams causing droughts in northern Thailand and the spread of coronavirus pandemic, the protests were stopped.

It raises questions about the Chinese influence on the Thai government, Netiwit said.

“We have to commemorate this event so that the crackdown by the Chinese state is not forgotten,” Netiwit said. “The Chinese government is still cracking down on expression whether it is in Hong Kong or aligning themselves with dictators in Africa or even the junta here in Thailand.”

A police officer at the Huai Khwang Police Station where the petition was filed said that the department would not comment on the issue.

The Tianamen Square Protests in 1989 ended in a bloody crackdown by the Chinese state from June 3 – June 4. Conservative estimates suggest hundreds of protesters, mostly students, were killed by security forces.

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