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Last Updated: Tuesday, 25 October 2005, 11:39 GMT 12:39 UK
Takbai kin sue Thai government
Protestors lie on the ground after a demonstration turned violent in southern Thailand (25/10/04)
Protesters were arrested and many then loaded into army trucks
The relatives of dozens of protesters killed in a bloody incident in southern Thailand last year are planning to sue the government for more compensation.

On the first anniversary of the so-called Takbai incident, lawyers for the relatives said they would file lawsuits against several ministries.

At least 85 people died on 25 October 2004. Most of them suffocated after being stacked into army trucks.

Others were shot by the security forces during a protest which turned violent.

More than 950 people have been killed in violence in Thailand's largely Muslim south since the beginning of 2004, and the government has often been criticised for its heavy-handed tactics in the region.

Brutal treatment

The government has already paid 400,000 baht ($9,790) to each victim.

But according to the Bangkok Post, the relatives are now seeking 1m baht ($24,000) each from various government agencies.

According to Thai media reports, the new lawsuit will name the defence ministry, interior ministry, the army and the police, as well as the local authority in Narathiwat province.

The Takbai incident began when security forces clashed with protesters outside a police station in Narathiwat province.

The protesters were angry at the detention of six Muslim men accused of providing weapons to Islamic militants.

Seven people died during the clashes themselves, but then at least 78 others died after being arrested and loaded into army trucks.

Officials said almost all of the dead suffocated as they were taken to an army barracks several hours away.

Since then, there have been several investigations into the army's handling of the incident.

A government probe in December cleared the army of wrong-doing, saying there was no evidence to suggest the deaths were deliberate.

But in a report issued in May, Thailand's human rights commission said the security forces had mistreated the protesters and violated their human rights.

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