The recent assault and beating of white-mask protesters in Chiang Mai by red shirts was a reminder, if any were needed, that red shirts are willing and able to inflict violence on those they disagree with. The Chiang Mai case is special, however, as that chapter of the movement, Rak Chiang Mai 51 (RCM51), has been particularly notorious for its intolerance.
In 2008, members of the group gruesomely murdered a man during an assault on a PAD community radio station. In 2009, they violently shut down the city's gay pride parade before it even began. The man heading the group then and now is Petchawat Wattanapongsirikul. With Mr Petchawat at the helm, RCM51 has been responsible for some of the worst red-shirt violence in the country, and they are threatening further action against an upcoming lawful protest.
The upshot is Mr Petchawat does not just head RCM51, he is an adviser to the human development and security minister in the Yingluck Shinawatra cabinet. This is unacceptable; taking into account the group's track record and its continuing willingness to inflict violence, Mr Petchawat should be dismissed from his post _ at the very least.
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