Dead demonstrator 'a hero' to fellow villagers
An anti-government protester who was crushed to death by a van before dawn yesterday could be hailed as a hero by his fellow community members in Si Sa Ket.
The community will organise Narongchai Thanthong's funeral and could name him as an inspirational figure, said Sri Sumang village leader, Police Sub-Lieutenant Sayan Permboon.
"We admire his courage in voicing his opinions. Regardless of the side he was on, his action was democratic," Sayan said.
A member of Sri Sa Asoke community in Si Sa Ket, Narongchai, 62, joined the anti-Thaksin protest in Bangkok as part of the Dharma Army. He had no family or relatives, said his friend Rahong Deelert.
She said Narongchai's family used to have a carpentry business but it went bankrupt and his family fell apart as a consequence. Narongchai then approached Rahong's husband for shelter before joining the community.
Narongchai was hit by a van while he slept on the road near Government House. He was pronounced dead on admission to Vachira Hospital.
Narongchai was sleeping on the left lane of Rajdamnoen Road near the Makkawan Rangsan Bridge - the section which was supposedly closed to traffic - when a van ran over him at 4.45am before it sped away toward the Rajdamnoen Boxing Stadium.
Protesters and police officers said they were perplexed as to how the van got to the area.
Police opened the barrier to the van and allowed it to leave, unaware of the accident.
Since witnesses caught a glimpse of only four digits of the van's registration plate, it would take some time for investigators to identify the van, a police spokesman said.