Democrats, PAD on political unrest / Red shirt rally

30 03 2009

The following post reports recent developments in the on-going political struggle in Thailand.

Associated Press (“Thai PM hits back at Thaksin rallying call”) reports that Democrat Party Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva has accused former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra of stoking unrest with his call to supporters to join the red shirt/UDD rally and to rally all over the country. Abhisit is reported to have responded that Thaksin “is trying to arouse people in an effort to gain benefit for himself,” adding that while protests were permitted by law, the demonstrators “should not make more trouble for people who are already suffering from economic turmoil.” Abhisit also claimed that, “A protest for political demands should be related to politics, there is no reason to mention the privy council…”.

The People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD), which has twice previously campaigned for months to oust Thaksin and then Thaksin-aligned governments, has also responded to Thaksin’s rallying call. In The Nation (30 March 2009: “PAD statement: Gov’t must block Thaksin’s speech”) PAD co-ordinator Suriyasai Katasila issued a statement “condemning ex-prime minister Thaksin Shinnawatra for his phone-in speech which accused privy councillor president of being masterminds of the coup.” PAD demanded that the government to revoke “Thaksin’s passport, block Thaksin’s video linking, speed up media reformation, and take serious action against those who commited lese majeste.”

Meanwhile, one of PAD’s core leaders Sondhi Limthongkul has criticised the Democrat-led government for failing to bring Thaksin back to Thailand to face the courts (Bangkok Post, 30 March 2009: “Sondhi: Govt not hunting Thaksin”): “Mr Sondhi said the government had not trying seriously to get Thaksin back. Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya – who was a strong PAD supporter before joining the cabinet – was the only one who had tried to extradite him.” Sondhi stated that PAD would not mount counter-demonstrations to those by the UDD red shirts.

Sondhi has had something of a falling out with the government over corruption allegations (Bangkok Post, 11 March 2009: “Suthep, Sondhi war of words widens”). At te same time, UDD leader Nattawut Saikua has accused Privy Councillor General Surayud Chulanont of having contacted Sondhi prior to the 2006 coup to give his support to PAD (Bangkok Post, 29 March 2009: “UDD questions Surayud-PAD link”).

Interestingly, the PAD statements come at a time when (Bangkok Post, 30 March 2009: “PAD leaders hear the charges against them”) its leadership heard charges read against them related to their attempt to prevent parliament meeting in October 2008.

The Nation’s Breaking News ticker has a range of pieces on a range of UDD-red shirt rallies nationwide, in Lopburi, Srisaket, Kampaengphet, Lampang, Nan, Kalasin, Chiang Mai, Chaiyaphum and Udornthani. The Nation has a longer report (30 March 2009: “Red shirts in simultaneous provincial protests”) says: “Lop Buri, Udon Thani, Suphan Buri, Ubon Ratchathani, Chanta Buri, Chiang Rai, Kalasin, Chon Buri, Anthong, Nakhon Sawan and more.”

The report states that the re shirt “show of force came after an early morning announcement and distribution of leaflets saying that the blocking of the Government House is not legal and not peaceful and that protesters would be dispersed as they’re breaking the law. The police cited earlier Administrative Court’s ruling against the People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD) which occupied the Government House last year which stated that their act which obstruct the works of officials is against the law. This let to a near simultaneous gathering of red-shirt DAAD members at privincial hall in 12 provinces, causing police to tone down their stance.”p7682606-01

Pantip.com’s web board has this map (right).

In The Nation report cited above, Democrat Party spokesperson Buranaj Smutharaks is quoted as having said “the party’s war room has assessed the situation and believe the will either be a violent confrontation or even civil war or the red-shirt may protesters may turn up all over the kingdom calling for amnesty for Thaksin and his banned former colleagues.”It seems they are turning up and UDD leaders are also predicting violence.

Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban had held an urgent meeting with Prime Minister Abhisit  to discuss the red shirted protests at provincial halls.

There have been a rash of rumours and actions, with some reports of demonstrators being pushed out of Provincial Hall precincts although the Interior Ministry ordered governors to avoid violence.


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20 01 2011
Two years of PPT, part II | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] The pages receiving the most views were: the home page (about a year ago the software began counting “home page” rather than the post on the home page; Pending Cases; About Us; Convictions; and Battle for Bangkok. On posts that go up each day, the big ones have been: Ji Ungpakorn on anger; More royal brilliance?; and Democrats, PAD on political unrest / Red shirt rally. […]




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