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Red shirts to rally on Sunday

Posted by Rattana_S On November - 23 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS

The United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD) plans another mass rally at Rajamangala stadium on Sunday to counter growing anti-government protests.

The red-shirts have to come out to protect the democratically elected government and the House of Representatives, UDD chairwoman Tida Tawornseth said at a news conference at Imperial Lat Phrao shopping centre on Saturday.

The country is now moving backward because “elite bureaucrats” and the Democrats are making use of independent organisations, including the Constitution Court, to secretly rob the charter from the people, she said.

Mrs Tida called on people and red-shirts in Bangkok and nearby provinces to join the mass gathering to protect democracy at the stadium on Sunday at 6pm.

She said the pro-government rally would be peaceful and that the UDD would not lead its supporters out of the rally site to confront the anti-government groups on Ratchadamnoen Road.

She also told red-shirts to bring food and necessities for an overnight stay in the event that it became necessary for the UDD to prolong the rally.

The UDD held a rally at Rajamangala Stadium earlier in the week but dispersed the same day that the Constitution Court issued its ruling striking down a draft charter amendment on the makeup of the senate.

Jatuporn Prompan, a UDD co-leader, alleged that the Constitution Court’s ruling on Wednesday had been planned in advance.

Armed with a ruling favourable to their side, he said, anti-government groups were thus able to petition the National Anti-Corruption Commission, seeking dissolution of the Pheu Thai Party and the ouster of MPs and senators who backed the draft charter change.

Mr Jatuporn admitted that the red shirts at Rajamangala on Sunday would probably be outnumbered by the anti-government groups at Ratchadamnoen, as the UDD rally had been called on such short notice.

However, he believed the number of red-shirts would increase substantially in subsequent days as they would turn out to flex their muscle and prevent those who ordered the use of weapons against protesters in 2010 to return to power again.

Red-shirts promise no confrontation

Posted by Rattana_S On November - 18 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS

The United Front for Democracy which is bringing 30,000 red-shirt supporters to Bangkok this week promises that they would not embark on actions that would lead to the confrontation with anti-government protesters.

Anuwat Thinnarat, chairman of the group, said that all the red-shirts would gather in peace at the Rajamangala stadium during November 19-20.

They will not leave the stadium or go near the Democracy Monument where anti-government protesters are, he said.

However, he said that on November 20, the red-shirts would move to the Constitutional Court on Chaeng Wattana Road, to observe the Court’s ruling on the senator-related case.

Anuwat said that the red-shirts wanted to just observe the ruling, without any intention to put pressure on the Court which should have liberty in its deliberation.

The group plans to mobilise 30,000 red-shirts. Leaders in 20 Northeastern provinces are told to prepare buses for the supporters, Anuwat said.

Reds, govt put differences behind

Posted by Rattana_S On November - 9 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS

Rallies planned in different parts of nation to counter anti-amnesty move

The ruling Pheu Thai Party and the red shirts plan to put aside their differences over amnesty in order to consolidate their strengths in fighting off their opponents.

“Under the circumstances, infighting should stop so we can face outside threats,” Deputy Commerce Minister Nuttawut Saikuar said in his Facebook message yesterday.

The red shirts and the coalition lawmakers plan to hold a series of rallies aimed at countering the anti-amnesty protesters.

Nuttawut called for unity among government supporters for what he said was “the fight to safeguard democracy”.

The red shirts are expected to kick off their own political rally at the Supachalasai Stadium tomorrow afternoon.

The red shirts will organise another nine stages around the country.

This week, they would launch five stages and start tomorrow at Supachalasai Stadium, from Monday to Friday at Khon Kaen, Chiang Mai, Udon Thani and Chon Buri.

Red shirts from Pathum Thani have already organised a public meeting to air their support for the administration and have distributed flyers attacking Democrat Party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva and MP Suthep Thaugsuban for attempting to unseat an elected government.

Meanwhile, former legislative leader Meechai Ruchuphan has called on the government to heed the people’s voice. He warned that the situation would worsen if it used force against the people.

“The government is facing a tough situation and the use of force would lead to chaos and tragedy,” he said.

The government should think and act quickly on pacifying the protesters and the best way is to engage the opponents in talks, he added.

Green Group coordinator Suriyasai Katasila said he suspected the government had made a tactical retreat in the legislature in order to launch an offensive campaign to fan pro-amnesty sentiment.

The government, he said, had not really abandoned its push for blanket amnesty, arguing that the red-shirt rallies were designed to fan sentiment before the next round of debate in the legislature.

“Yingluck Shinawatra, the first female prime minister, has shown her true colours as a leader – willing to pitch the people against each other,” he said. He said that relevant parties should turn the political movement – as evidenced by the number of people pouring onto the streets – into a constructive opportunity to bring about reforms.

Protesters, led by the Students and People Network for Thailand’s Reform, are still camped out at Makkhawan Rangsan Bridge, near Government House, despite rumours of a possible crackdown.

Metropolitan Police commissioner Lt-General Kamronwit Thoopkrajang said police were not planning to disperse the crowds.

Police forces were instructed to keep protesters away from restricted areas, he said.

Secretary-general to the PM, Suranand Vejjajiva, said he was concerned that prolonged protests could tarnish the country’s reputation. Should rally organisers drag on protests until Monday, coinciding with the International Court of Justice’s ruling on Preah Vihear, it would not bode well for the country, he said. He urged Suthep to end the protests.

Regarding the red-shirt rally, he said the government was obliged to allow people to air their opinions. Police would be in charge of enforcing law and order to prevent confrontation between opposing sides, he said.

He warned anti-amnesty protesters not to fall prey to the ploy to unseat the government. Should the situation escalate, the government would have no choice but to carry out strict law enforcement, he said.

‘People’s Army’ promises peaceful protest

Posted by Rattana_S On August - 4 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS

The People’s Army has called for a peaceful demonstration today at Lumpini Park while red-shirt leaders have vowed to mobilise several thousands of government supporters in a show of force against anti-government protesters.

The public park is not in the three Bangkok districts where the Cabinet last week imposed the Internal Security Act.

The anti-government People’s Army yesterday revealed the names of 30 high-ranking officials, including military men, who back the group in its campaign to bring down the Thaksin regime.

The group, led by Admiral Chai Suwannaphap, Thaikorn Polsuwan and General Preecha Iamsupan, held a press conference announcing the names of supporters. These include former Army chief General Wimol Wongwanit, former supreme commander General Saiyud Kerdphol, former Air Force chief ACM Kan Pimanthip, and Admiral Bannawit Kengrian. Prasong Soonsiri, former chief of the National Security Council, would act as adviser.

Thaikorn said the supporters included other high-ranking officials, from the police and military whose names could not be revealed because they were still in office.

He said the group would wait and see how the situation develops before deciding whether they should hold a sit-in rally. “If there is any violence, it will be either caused by the government or a third-party group,” he said.

The group dismissed Prime Minister Yingluck’s plea yesterday to achieve national reconciliation, saying the government was not sincere in bringing about reconciliation.

Meanwhile, about 30 anti-government protesters led by Captain Songklod Chuenchupol converged outside the Pheu Thai headquarters, calling on the ruling party to remove an amnesty bill from deliberation in Parliament.

He said Yingluck’s statement yesterday was just a time-buying tactic.

Red-shirt leader weng Tojirakarn announced yesterday the start of the red-shirts’ campaign against the bureaucratic polity, by ordering leaders to mobilise 20,000 people from each province across the country to converge at the Rajamangala National Stadium.

Nisit Sinthuprai, another red-shirt leader, said he expected at least 500,000 government supporters to be mobilised for a gathering at the stadium. He told the red shirts in all provinces to be ready.

In a related development, the Campaign for Popular Democracy has announced its opposition to the government’s imposition of the Internal Security Act as it violated the constitutional right to hold a protest. It also opposed an amnesty bill proposed by Pheu Thai MP Worachai Hema, saying it believes the law would help Thaksin Shinawatra return home without being punished. The agency urged the government to lift the security law and withdraw Worachai’s bill or Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra must take responsibility for any violence that may take place.

The group said Yingluck’s proposal for national reconciliation yesterday would be true only if the government served the people, and not Thaksin.

Also yesterday, the Thai Journalists’ Association and the Thai Broadcast Journalists Association issued a joint statement, affirming press freedom and called on the authorities to allow media workers to enter all the rally areas safely for news coverage. This was in response to the ISA coming into effect from last Thursday to August 10.