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Red Shirts Threaten to ‘Surround Bangkok’



Red shirts rally at Rajamangala National Stadium in Hua Mak on Nov 24. (Photo by Pattarapong Chatpattarasill)


NORTHERN THIALAND – With the political situation in Thailand having reached an impasse as both sides – the government and the street protesters – won’t move from their standpoints, the embattled Shinawatra-led government is now obviously resorting to mobilise its powerful and loyal supporters, the Red Shirts.

Red-shirt supporters across the country will rally in four provinces surrounding the capital if the anti-government People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) continues its demand for a people’s council under Section 7 of the constitution, an Isan “red village” leader claimed on Wednesday.

Arnon Saenan, secretary-general of the Red Village movement, said red-shirts from the Northeast region would converge in Nakhon Ratchasima province, those in the North would gather in Nakhon Sawan, those in the Central region in Ayutthaya, and those in the South in Phetchaburi if the protesters continue their demands.

Mr Arnon said about 1,000 red-shirt representatives from groups nationwide had gathered at a seminar to discuss the issue at Buri Ram Ratjabhat University on Tuesday, Post Today reported.

“His Majesty the King has already rejected the possibility of invoking Section 7 to form a royally appointed government [in April 2006] because it would be undemocratic,” he said. “Mr Suthep’s proposal is unconstitutional and is not legitimate.”

Anuwat Thinnarat, chairman of the red-shirt United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD) network in Isan, said at the meeting that his group would stay put, awaiting the PDRC’s next move, the report said.

He was firm in saying there would not be any major confrontation between the opposing sides, while accusing protest leader and former Democrat MP Suthep Thaugsuban of provocation.

Mr Suthep’s demand that the caretaker administration of Yingluck Shinawatra should step down was dictatorial and an attempt to bring down the constitution, he said.

Mr Anuwat said Mr Suthep should call off the protest and take part in the general election, to really find out what the majority of the country wants.

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