Democracy activists gathered near Sanam Luang yesterday to commemorate the May 1992 bloody crackdown on protesters and to honour those who died fighting military rule 20 years ago.
Participants took turns to praise the bravery of the protesters as they gathered at Suan Santiporn off Ratchadamnoen Road.
Some 40 demonstrators were killed, 40 went missing and nearly 1,000 people were wounded when the military government of Gen Suchinda Kraprayoon sent in troops to break days of protests by students and office workers who opposed his rule.
The group who gathered yesterday to recall the event called on younger people to show the same courage in opposing any forms of dictatorship.
Among the key participants were Adul Khieuboribun, chairman of the May 1992 Heroes' Relatives Group, Gothom Arya of Mahidol University's Institute of Human Rights and Peace Study who is also a chairman of the Foundation for May 1992, Prinya Thewanarumitkul, Thammasat University vice-rector and chairman of the commemorations organising committee, Ongart Klampaiboon, a Democrat MP, and Jatuporn Promphan, a Pheu Thai MP who showed up on behalf of the government.
Also attending the commemorations were relatives of those killed and who went missing, and key players from the May 1992 clashes including key protest leader Maj-Gen Chamlong Srimuang.
Maj-Gen Chamlong, leader of the now-defunct Palangtham Party, moved to the back row when he saw Mr Jatuporn arrive.
He quietly left the function when Mr Jatuporn, then leader of the Ramkhamhaeng University's Sajatham student party, rose to speak at the podium.
Mr Jatuporn said he hoped the May 1992 and the May 2010 clashes would serve as a reminder for any authoritarian rulers not to use force against those with different political views.
He said he would seek support from Deputy Prime Minister Chalerm Yubamrung to speed up construction of a monument for those who died in the uprising.
He said a budget had been approved for the project since former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra was in power.