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Nat @NatDeeWhitening
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[THREAD] 14 OCT 1973 is the day that Thai people known as “October 14 Event” or “Day of Great Sorrow”. It is the great uprising of students in Thailand against the absolute dictatorship regime. #Thailand #14ตุลา #14October #History #ColdWar
It is remembered as one of darkest day in Thai Cold War history because there were many people died that day due to the fight between the students and government forces.
It started with “Thai students’ activism” which inspired by leftist ideology mobilizing and organizing demonstrations and rallies against the pro-American policies of the ruling government and ruling government itself.
More over in the early 1970s, there were influences of the revolts and revolutions which occurred throughout the world in that period, May 1968 in Paris, was a prime example.
Thanom Kittikachorn, the junta PM of that time who succeed his power from the death of former junta PM Sarit Thanarat. Thanom ruled Thailand from 1963 afterwards and continued the pro-American and anti-communist politics of his predecessor.
Although he was personally popular, his regime was known for massive corruption.
He established and led the Saha Prachathai Party in October 1968. Thanom reappointed himself prime minister in February 1969 after general elections had been completed. After the 1970s peasant revolts in Thailand, He staged a coup against his own government in November.
The reason of his coup is for suppressing communist infiltration. The staged coup against Thanom’s own government cause the displeased among Thai people.
Many of students’ activities were attacked by the government forces e.g. The expelling of Ramkhamhaeng University’s students for publishing a satire on the ruling government and the arrest of 11 academics and students handing out leaflets demanding a democratic constitution.
On 9 OCT, more than 2,000 students from Thammasat University demonstrated at an anti-government rally. After the rally, the students held an all-night vigil with students from Chulalongkorn University and several teacher training colleges.
On 10 OCT, rallies in Bangkok swelled as more students and joined the protests. The government prepared to react by quietly setting up a crisis control centre.
On 13 OCT, the crowd, which had swelled to more than 400,000, marched to Democracy Monument to demand the release of the prisoners. The government quickly agreed to the demands and promised that the permanent constitution would be in place 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 Prasertkul, decided to lead them to the palace to seek advice from King Bhumibol.
On 14 OCT, the students reached the palace and were met by the king's representative, who said that Bhumibol requested that the students disband. The students agreed to do so, and the police ordered barricades placed to disperse students in a single direction.
Due to the large crowd many were not able to leave, and the police refused their request for another exit, which resulted in resentment among the students. Soon the violence against the students started at early in the morning.
Bombs exploded near the royal palace and the police began attacking the students. By late morning, Violence occurs in both sides as the situation spun out of control. The government brought in tanks, helicopters, and infantrymen to support the police.
Seventy-seven deaths and 857 injuries resulted and many buildings near Ratchadamnoen Avenue were set on fire. The number of demonstrators quickly grew to more than 500,000, as other students and their sympathizers rallied to their defense.
In the evening, soldiers finally withdrew the king announcement of resignation of Thanom's military government. Violence continued on 15 OCT around the police headquarters, with students demanding that Thanom be removed as head of the armed forces.
Only when it was announced that Thanom, Praphas, and Thanom's son, Colonel Narong Kittikachorn, who was married to Praphas' daughter, had fled the country did calm return to Bangkok. The end had come as quickly and unexpectedly as the violence had begun.
The uprising unleashed a range of political forces not seen in Thailand before and the country gradually became more polarized. In the immediate aftermath of the uprising, there was a popular perception of promise and euphoria.
After the mass uprising against the military dictatorship, that event shook the Thai ruling class to its foundations. For the next few days, there was a strange new atmosphere in Bangkok. Uniformed officers of the state disappeared from the streets.
The first democratic elections, since the OCT 1973 uprising, were held in JAN 1975. Parliament had a Left colouring and Government policies reflected a need to deal with pressing social issues. Left-wing parties had gained gained 37 seats out of a total of 269.
The influence of 14 OCT 1973 made Thailand the most democratic country in SEA in that time. However, things took a turn for the worse as democracy took the blame for the consequences of the past dictatorships.
And finally, the most democratic chapter of Thailand during Cold War ended in 6 OCT 1976 as the ultra-right took away people’s power again. Even today, 14 OCT still remember as largest democratic uprising in Thailand since 1932 and there is a remembrance of the victim every year.
However, some of people who had attended that event joined or support the later junta governments. [Monument of remembrance of 14 OCT 1973 victims of government’s attack during uprising.]
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