Weapons of war were used to control crowd, said the report on 2010 Thai riots.
Anti-governement protestors hide behind tires in the streets of Bangkok on May 15, 2010. Despite a rising death toll and determined resistance from the demonstrators, the Thai government said it would continue to move against the anti-government protesters.
BANGKOK, THAILAND - An independent commission set up by the Thai government to investigate deadly clashes in Bangkok two years ago warned on Monday that conflicts in Thai society are still simmering and that the country risks another "escalation to violence."
The Truth for Reconciliation Commission released a report that laid blame for the more than 90 deaths in the streets of Bangkok in 2010 on both the country's military and a shadowy group of militants, known as black shirts, who hid among protesters.
"We found the use of weapons of war by officials to control the crowd," Somchai Homlaor, a member of the commission, said at a briefing.
The black shirts "cooperated and gained support" from some protesters, Somchai said, and had sophisticated weapons.
In one of the most anticipated findings, the commission said Khattiya Sawatdiphol, a renegade general who sided with the protesters, was assassinated by a sniper most likely located in a building controlled by authorities. The shooting of Khattiya, who was popularly known as Seh Daeng, led to the violence in Bangkok.
Sunai Phasuk, a researcher in Thailand with Human Rights Watch, praised the commission's report as balanced and relying on "neutral evidence and forensic science."
"This is the first report in modern Thai political history that investigates violence from all sides," he said.
The report painted a picture of a society filled with mistrust of key institutions. The handling of political cases has "thrown the entire justice system into doubt for the general public," the report said.
The commission made wide-ranging recommendations that it said would help speed up reconciliation. It called on the military and its leaders to "strictly refrain" from involvement in politics.
And in one of the boldest suggestions, the head of the commission, Kanit Nanakorn, called on Thaksin Shinawatra, the billionaire former prime minister, to "sacrifice" and withdraw from politics. Thaksin's allies now lead the government in Thailand, and his sister, Yingluck Shinawatra, is prime minister.
Thaksin has mostly stayed abroad in the six years since he was removed from office in a military coup, but he has said he is planning to return to the country, where he faces two years in prison after being convicted in a highly politicized abuse-of-power case. Many of the protesters who occupied the main commercial district of central Bangkok in 2010 were Thaksin supporters.