Payouts for victims of unrest
Thailand on Tuesday agreed a $63 million pot to compensate all victims of years of political unrest and aid reconciliation in the deeply divided nation, a government spokeswoman said.
Wednesday 11 January 2012, 08:32AM
The fund will pay out for all deaths and injuries sustained in a string of violent protests since 2005, involving the arch nationalist Yellow Shirts, the mainly rural working-class Red Shirts and several smaller factions.
"The cabinet approved a two billion baht budget for all victims of political violence so they can receive appropriate and fair assistance in line with legal principle and equality," spokeswoman Titima Chaisang told reporters.
She said the government of Yingluck Shinawatra, sister of divisive former premier Thaksin, wanted to show that it had "taken responsibility by giving to all sides".
Families of those who lost their lives will be paid 4.5 million baht ($142,000) plus 250,000 baht ($8,000) for funeral expenses.
Payments to the injured range from 4.5 million baht for those who lost limbs and were left permanently disabled, to 675,000 baht ($21,000) for minor injuries.
The government does not have exact figures on the number of people expected to qualify, although most of the payouts are likely to go to those affected by the crackdown on the Red Shirt rallies in April and May 2010.
The two month street protest brought Bangkok to a standstill and left more than 90 people dead and around 1,900 injured, mostly civilians, in clashes with soldiers.
The demonstrations marked a crescendo in tensions for the politically fractured kingdom, after years of unrest that began months before a 2006 military coup that deposed Thaksin, long despised by the Bangkok elites.
Other protests include the occupation of two Bangkok airports in 2008 by the royalist Yellow Shirts, whose rallies helped unseat Thaksin and his allies from power.
A victory for Yingluck's Pheu Thai party in 2011 elections has done little to dampen fears of further turbulence, with a recent decision to issue a passport to Thaksin stoking tensions with the ex-tycoon's enemies.
The financial assistance package was originally suggested by the Truth for Reconciliation Commission of Thailand.