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PDRC’s mass rally as it unfolds

Posted by Rattana_S On March - 29 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

The People’s Democratic Reform committee led by Suthep Thaugsuban stages a march from Lumpini Park to the Royal Plaza and Parliament Saturday to affirm its stand that reform must be done before the next election.

Here how the event unfolds:

8:30 am: Leaders on the rally stage of the People’s Democratic Reform Committee inside the Lumpini Park start organising protesters in to groups for the march.

9:40 am: Suthep Thaugsuban and his wife, Srisakul Promphan, arrive at the King Rama VI statue in front of the Lumpini Park.

9:47 am: Suthep and his wife pay respect to King Rama VI statue. Leaders urge protesters in front of the park start marching.

10:00 am: Suthep starts leading the main procession of protesters. The procession is divided into six groups.

10:23 am: Suthep’s procession reaches the Rajprasong Intersection. Scenes from the Blue Sky channel show people crowd the intersection and the pedestrian flyovers around the area.

10:30 am: Suthep expresses his belief more than one million people have come out or will later join the mass rally.

10:37 am: Suthep’s procession passes the front of Siam Paragon Shopping Mall. Scenes from Blue Sky Channel show all areas in front of the mall and all pedestrian flyovers occupied with people waiting to cheer Suthep.

10:42 am: Suthep’s procession reaches Siam Square.

10:52am: The procession led by Suthep converges a procession of the Chulalongkorn University’s community in front of the Mah Boon Krong shopping centre.

11:00 am: Seree Wongmontha, leader of the fifth part of the procession, asks why the procession has not moved. Seree’s part is still struck outside Lumpini Park. He fears the protesters would leave the procession if it stops for too long.

11:40 am: Satit Wongnongtaey announces on the sound truck leading the procession that the last part of the procession has not yet left the Lumpini Park. He urges the protesters at the front to walk faster.

11:15am: Blue Sky reports that the last part of the procession has just reached the Chulalongkorn Hospital.

11:16 am: Suthep walks past BTS’s Rajthevi station.

11:23am: The sound truck of Satit reaches the BTS Phayathai station. People along the sidewalks hand out refrigerated drinking water to marchers.

11:29 am: Suthep is reaching the BTS Phayathai station. The spokeswoman says the procession is moving slow because a lot demonstrators walk in front of the sound truck.

Bid to meet Suthep to find way out

Posted by Rattana_S On March - 26 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

Coalition to invite Democrats, other parties to talks; warn of Asean suspension

Political parties plan to hold talks and send representatives to People’s Democratic Reform Committee chief Suthep Thaugsuban for discussions to resolve the political deadlock, as they fear internal conflict could even lead to the country’s suspension from Asean.

The coalition parties will call a meeting of 53 political parties to find out what each party thinks about the Constitutional Court ruling that nullified the February 2 election.

Pheu Thai Party spokesman Prompong Nopparit said yesterday that the meeting would be held at the Royal Police Cadet Academy in Nakhon Pathom’s Sam Pran district on Friday.

Prompong said the Democrat Party would be invited to join the meeting. If the party rejects the invitation, the Democrats would be criticised as not being sincere with the public on the issue of democracy, the spokesman said.

Chart Thai Pattana Party’s key member Somsak Prissanananthakul said politicians known to be close to Suthep would try and convince him to enter into negotiations.

“In this political crisis, no one wins 100 per cent or loses 100 per cent. The Asean integration will begin in about 100 days. If we are still struggling with internal conflicts, we may lose the chance to become an Asean economic hub as we have aspired. In a worst-case scenario, we may be suspended from Asean,” he said.

Suthep said yesterday that he has at no time approached anyone for the position of interim premiership, saying the time is not ripe for such a move.

He added that the PDRC would not join talks with the Election Commission in order to find a political solution to the ongoing problems.

Caretaker Deputy Commerce Minister Nuttawut Saikuar recently disclosed a list of people who he claimed were candidates for interim premier to replace Yingluck Shinawatra in case she were to be indicted by the national anti-graft agency over the rice-pledging scheme.

Suthep said the PDRC has never approached anyone to become an interim prime minister and the red shirts’ list of names comes from their own imagination.

“We haven’t moved to that process, as we have yet to remove the Thaksin regime. The prime minister must resign first and only after that will the search for a neutral premier start,” he said.

The former deputy prime minister said the PDRC will definitely not attend any negotiations except face-to-face talks with the prime minister broadcast live on television.

The PDRC has stressed its stand on national reforms before an election, he said, adding that a new general election will be useless given voters’ poor response to the Senate’s advance election on Sunday.

The Constitutional Court annulled the February 2 election, compelling the EC to organise a new round of balloting nationwide.

Democrat Party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva yesterday called on Yingluck and Suthep to hold talks on national reform live on TV.

The live broadcast would create confidence among the people and prevent the spread of rumours that cause both sides to attack each other.

Abhisit was speaking to the Senate committee on political development and public participation in politics. The committee had invited Abhisit to express his opinion on political reform.

Abhisit admitted that certain reforms could not be completed before an election because they would require charter amendments to implement them.

As a result, he said a public referendum should be held on whether the people wanted reforms so that politicians would have to commit themselves to carrying out reforms after the election.

“The most difficult thing about reforms is to find the starting point, as both sides are squabbling over whether the reforms should be introduced before or after the next election,” Abhisit said.

“Each side refuses to accept the other’s reasons. So, I think we must follow a middle path. We must carry out urgent things first because it is impossible to complete all reform issues fast. For example, decentralisation cannot be done in one or two years. And if an election is held now, no one will believe that it will lead to reform.”

Nuttawut said he would reveal a list of PDRC supporters today to prove that they would benefit if the current government was removed. The list would include names of potential ministers or members of the PDRC who would form the appointed government as suggested by Suthep.

“Our standpoint is clear. We will not accept coups of any form and an unlawful PM. If the situation reaches that point, we will come out to fight but in a democratic way,” Nuttawut said.

Rehearsal march

Posted by Nuttapon_S On March - 24 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

Rally leader Suthep Thaugsuban on Monday leads a five-kilometre march to meet people along Rama IV, Surawongse and Mahesak roads.

The march which he said was a rehearsal for the major demonstration scheduled this Saturday was made under tight security.

Yingluck and Suthep urged to nominate 10 mediators

Posted by Rattana_S On March - 18 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

Six independent organisations are calling on caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and anti-government protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban to nominate 10 individuals each, who can mediate between both sides and help end the political impasse.

Leaders of the six agencies – the Election Commission, National Human Rights Commission, Office of the Ombudsman, National Anti-Corruption Commission, Office of the Auditor-General and National Economic and Social Advisory Council – hope to get a reply from the two sides within a week.

“The big question is which individuals will be acceptable to both?” Election Commission member Somchai Srisuthiyakorn asked, adding that the mass media should also encourage both sides to come up with names.

Somchai said putting differences on the table was the best way forward for the country and the six organisations would only facilitate the creation of a mediation team, comprised of at least five members who are acceptable to both sides and have no specific agenda set in advance.

“Obviously, there can be no negotiation if neither side is willing … The country has suffered enough and will suffer even more if there are no talks. If they won’t come up with nominees, then we can’t go any further, which means there are no Thais who can act as mediators … So carry on with the war. We have created a bridge for both sides, but if they won’t use it, it’s their choice, though they will have to take responsibility if it causes more damage to the country,” Somchai said, adding that the public also wanted mediators to be nominated.

The six bodies will send a joint letter to both Yingluck and Suthep today, chief ombudsman Panit Nitithanprapas said, adding that she believed both sides wanted to end the political impasse as the crisis had become “unprecedented” in its magnitude.

“[We’re] concerned the damage may go beyond the point of remedy, we need to end the conflict and foster unity,” said Panit, who met the press at a conference room at her office. She also cited a recent Dusit Poll that showed most people want both sides to start negotiating.

The group also said any demands found to be against the law or ones that affect the duty of any of the six agencies would not be accepted.

Opas Tepalakul, chairman of the National Economic and Social Advisory Board, said if negotiations were not possible, then a “special process” would be held to end the conflict. He did not elaborate. When asked what would happen if the initiative failed, National Human Rights Commission chairperson Amara Pongsapich said Thai people should have some hope. “We believe we can find [mediators] and will not have to look outside Thailand.”

PM’s Office Minister Varathep Ratanakorn said the mediators were not as important as the “conditions” of the talks. If the conditions were against the constitution, it would be impossible.

Chulalongkorn political scientist Trakoon Meechai said the proposal to have mediators for talks was just a way to solve problems, but they must not be put under a rug.

Green Politics coordinator Suriyasai Katasila, a member of the People’s Democratic Reform Committee, said the situation had gone too far for talks, and the government faced many legal issues. Independent agencies should go back, do their work and strictly observe the law.