BANGKOK – Thailand’s pro-government Red Shirt activists said Thursday they will gather en masse and counter anti- government protesters who have planned to “shut down” the Thai capital on Jan. 13.
Chatuporn Prompand, leader of the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship, the official name of the Red Shirt movement, said on Thursday that Red Shirt members will keep Bangkok open as normal while former deputy premier Suthep Thuagsuban, leader of the anti-government protesters, planned to have his followers occupy its major streets, cut off power and water supplies at varied government premises and paralyze road traffic in the inner part of the capital.
The anti-government protesters have continued to press the caretaker government under acting premier Yingluck Shinawatra to step down and to call off the Feb. 2 nationwide polls.
Constituency-based candidates were effectually barred by anti- government protesters from applying in several southern provinces, earlier represented by ex-legislators of the Democrat Party which decided to boycott the election.
Chatuporn said civil war might possibly follow the planned ” Bangkok shutdown” and an eventual end to democratic rule, given street unrests orchestrated by Suthep, a former secretary general of the Democrat Party.
He called on all democracy-loving people to join the pro- government Red Shirt members in the fight against undemocratic rule.
“If democratic rule was put to an end, we do not know what could possibly happen. The first month of the year might see a breaking point… We will demonstrate in peaceful fashion, though, ” he said.
Former energy minister Pichai Nariptapand, of the caretaker government’s Pheu Thai (for Thais) Party, has advised former premier and Democrat Party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva to ask Suthep to give up his “Bangkok shutdown” plan which he said would merely be unlawful and ruinous to the country’s economy and tourist industry.