domingo, 24 de novembro de 2013


Police fear violence today
The Sunday Nation


clashes expected as thousands of reds, anti-govt protesters set to join rallies

BANGKOK: -- Clashes are expected today as thousands of government supporters and protesters convene in Bangkok for rival gatherings, as former Democrat MP Suthep Thaugsuban announced yesterday that different groups were getting together to "root out the Thaksin regime".

At the Democracy Monument protest site, Suthep ushered a group of academics, representatives of labour unions from state enterprises, members of the Silom business community, political activists among others to stage in front of thousands of cheering protesters.

The group on stage also included leaders of the People's Army to Overthrow the Thaksin Regime and the Network of People and Students for Thailand's Reform, who have been holding separate rallies in Bangkok to voice their opposition to the government-backed controversial amnesty bill and the so-called Thaksin regime.

The move came on the eve of a so-called "million-man march" planned today by Suthep and other protest leaders.

However, police said they only expected about 70,000 people to show up.

Pol Maj-General Piya Uthayo, spokesperson for the Centre for the Administration of Peace and Order, however, said that there may be attempts to spark violence between the two groups of protesters.

Rapid response teams

Piya said 40 teams of rapid-response police officers had been set up to deal with the situation tomorrow. Police will also be patrolling nine key spots around the capital more frequently, he said, adding that security personnel had three objectives: ensuring the safety of demonstrators, the general public and facilitating traffic flow.

Meanwhile, red-shirt leaders have called on supporters to gather at Rajamangala Stadium from today in order to deal with what is expected to be a massive gathering of anti-government protesters tomorrow. The protesters are expected to split into 12 groups around Bangkok.

Red-shirt co-leader Jatuporn Promphan told the press yesterday that this decision was made in order to bring red-shirt supporters to the capital from upcountry so as to protected Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra's elected government. He acknowledged that the anti-government protesters will increase in numbers today and hence, red shirts should be ready to descend on Bangkok today for a prolonged fight as the other group was already closing in on Government House. "We're not going to let Suthep take over Thailand," he said.

Separately, chairperson of the red-shirt Democratic Alliance against Democracy, Thida Thawornseth, called on vocational students to abandon the Democrat party-led protest, saying that the former Abhist Vejjajiva-led government never supported vocational schools and in fact, wanted to shut them down. She said it was time for the students to choose between backward conservative forces and progressive democratic ones.

Anurat Thinwad, chairman of the Isaan red-shirt sector, said 30,000 people were ready to descend on the capital no later than 2pm today. Red-shirt leaders from Pathum Thani said yesterday that they would be bringing more than 10,000 people to Rajamangala Stadium today.

The Chiang Mai 51 group had readied 150 buses last night to bring red-shirt protesters to Bangkok today. They also protested against the Constitutional Court ruling on Wednesday by burning a coffin.

Meanwhile, the anti-government STR group has moved closer toward the Government House and is now occupying the Nang Lerng intersection, which is just a few minutes by foot from the prime minister's office. They were told by a senior police officer that they were violating the Internal Security Act and could face a year in prison and/or a fine of Bt20,000. The officer, who was booed away by the crowds, later returned to present a letter of warning to the protest leader.
The Nation 2013-11-24

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