The last battle against the government
The People’s Alliance for Democracy has confirmed that the mass gathering on Sunday will be its final battle against the government. The group urges the Interior Minister to clarify his statement on who is the mastermind behind the prolonged anti-government movement.
Two key leaders of the People’s Alliance for Democracy or PAD, Major General Chamlong Srimuang and Pipob Thongchai, affirmed that a mass rally will be held in front of Parliament on Sunday November 23rd in order to oppose the planned Constitution amendment. The two core leaders declined to reveal the group’s movement plans, but stated that the gathering will be free of weapons. They added that Sunday’s gathering will be the final rally and will be short, not extended like previous demonstrations.
The PAD believes the government will be likely to step down if the number of protesters is massive. Major General Chamlong and Pipob admitted that the five key leaders haven’t evaluated and predicted the number of demonstrators they expect on Sunday. They said if only a small number of people join the final rally this weekend, the Thai people will have to admittedly allowed evil people to rule the country. The group’s key leaders believe there will be no violent incidents at the rally; however, they say if violence does occur on Sunday, the PAD will certainly not be the one to initiate it.
The anti-government group has stepped up security measures at the rally site and will intensify safety measures for its supporters on Sunday. Moreover, the PAD has urged the government to be responsible for security measures for protesters.
At the same time, the two key leaders demand that Interior Minister Police General Kowit Wattana show courage by clarifying who is the mastermind behind the PAD’s movements. The Interior Minister said yesterday in the Parliamentary session that the PAD rally has a big connection.
The group also condemned Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat after he made a statement last night that the recent grenade attack on the anti-government group was carried out by a third party. The PAD states that it’s obvious that the government is the only group who has been affected by the ongoing protest but it doesn’t have the courage to take any responsibility for the bomb attacks
Anti-govt Supporters Ready to Join Mass Rally in Capital
Supporters of the People’s Alliance for Democracy throughout the country have prepared to join the mass rally at Government House on Sunday.
In response to the call by the core leaders of the People’s Alliance for Democracy or PAD to stage a mass gathering on Sunday at Government House, Thawee Thongthan, coordinator of Pitsanulok PAD, revealed that some of its supporters in the province have already left by bus and train to join their fellows in Bangkok.
He suggested that those who want to join the rally board free buses in front of Gao San Department Store at 9am on Saturday and added that the group will be joined by the Labour Union of the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand.
In the meantime, Adisak Chantawichanuwong, a key PAD member in Nakornsawan Province, called on the local PAD group to gather at Heaven Park and in front of Dong Moon Lek noodle house to leave for Bangkok on Friday night and on Saturday morning.
Panas Rammasutra, a PAD supporter in Tak, said members of Tak’s local PAD are ready to join the final rally on Sunday and that supporters can board a bus in front of Sappawittayakom School in Mae Sod District.
A Phuket PAD supporter disclosed that 50 security guards have been sent to Government House while its rally site at Saphan Hin Cape will stop the live broadcast of ASTV until Sunday’s mission is completed.
State Enterprises’ Unions to Join Anti-Govt Mass Rally
More than 40,000 members of the State Enterprise’ labour unions are expected to join the mass gathering of the People’s Alliance for Democracy on Sunday. They threaten a strike if violence is used to counter the demostration.
Sawit Kaewwan, secretary-general of the State Enterprises Workers’ Relations Confederation or SERC, has read a statement that more than 40,000 members from all 43 labour unions will gather at the Royal Plaza on Monday morning in an attempt to overthrow the government, along with the People’s Alliance for Democracy or PAD.
Moreover, Suwit insists on taking action against any government supporter who enters their offices. He also threatened to start a strike if force is used to counter the protesters; however, Suwit affirms the strike will not affect the services for the public.
The SERC secretary-general has condemned the government for using violence against protesters, especially during the incident on October 7th.
He went on to say that the State Enterprises’ labour unions cannot stand the situation any longer, after one more person was killed in a bomb attack at the PAD rally on Thursday.
South, unions pledge support for PAD
Allies of the People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD) from the South and in state-enterprise labour unions yesterday promised their full support for the group’s next major rally, planned for this Sunday.
The new development came amidst the military’s concern about violence and the police’s preparation for the large protest outside Parliament, which is to convene next week.
The PAD’s local chapters set a target of mobilising at least 100,000 protesters from 14 southern provinces for the rally in Bangkok, said Saroj Rakchan, leader of the PAD’s Songkhla chapter.
Meanwhile the State Enterprise Workers Relations Confederation (SERC) has resolved yesterday to take part in the PAD rally, said Sawit Kaewwan, secretary-general of the labour unions’ umbrella group.
He said the government had lost its legitimacy since ordering a violent crackdown on protesters on October 7, which left two people dead and hundreds more injured.
“If the government doesn’t resign, 240,000 state-enterprise workers will go on strike until it does,” he said.
Sawit said the constituent organisations would send members to the rally from Monday on.
Somchai Sriniwet, head of the Metropolitan Waterworks union, said the utilities might stop services to certain state agencies like the Royal Thai Police and Parliament if the authorities resorted to the use of force in dealing with the protesters.
The PAD’s Saroj said that its supporters from southern provinces had set out in groups, mostly by train or bus, for Bangkok yesterday evening.
He said the PAD had set up a rally site in front of Hat Yai railway station to rouse the crowds and another in Phuket. Buses were ready for 24-hour, non-stop departures to transport the protesters.
Meanwhile the Army committee monitoring the state of affairs met yesterday and agreed that the venue for next week’s parliamentary meeting should be changed to avoid confrontation and possible violence, said Army spokesman Colonel Sansern Kaewkamnerd.
House Speaker Chai Chidchob said he had no power to change the venue, adding that any such decision would have to be made by a joint meeting of both houses.
Metropolitan Police commissioner Suchart Muankaew yesterday called a meeting of senior police officers in preparation for the PAD rally.
More than 1,300 policemen are to be dispatched to keep law and order during the demonstration outside Parliament.
However, police spokesman Watcharapol Prasanratchakit said the police had no policy of dispersing protesters.
“We’ve learned some lessons from October 7,” he said.
Deputy Interior Minister Prasong Kositanon yesterday called on the PAD to end its ongoing rally in order to prevent further damage to the country. He said moving its protesters to blockade Parliament would not help either.
“I don’t side with either the government or the PAD. What I want is social reconciliation and peace,” he said.
By THE NATION
Published on November 22, 2008
PAD Leaders Decide to March to Parliament Sun
The People’s Alliance for Democracy has decided to march to Parliament on Sunday to prevent the joint Parliamentary session from taking place on Monday.
The meeting came hot on the heel of another deadly bomb attack early this morning.
PAD confirms its plan to besiege Parliament
The People’s Alliance for Democracy Saturday confirmed its plan to hold a mass rally at Parliament against constitutional amendments.
After three hours of meeting at Manager Group head office, the PAD leaders held a press conference at 1 pm to announce that the mass rally would be held Sunday morning.
Chamlong Srimuang said the PAD learnt that the government would move up the charter amendments on the agenda when the House and Senate hold a joint sitting Sunday.
PAD Urges People to Join Sunday Demonstration
The People’s Alliance for Democracy has reiterated that the Parliament blockade on Monday will be carried out without violence. The group’s leaders say they are concerned that the violence seen in recent weeks could be aggravated if the government continues taking sides with tyrant soldiers who attack innocent people with weapons. They also called on as many members of the public as possible to join the rally.
Core leader of the People’s Alliance for Democracy or PAD including Sondhi Limthongkul, Chamlong Srimuang, Pipob Tongchai, Somsak Kosaisuk, and Somkiat Pongpaiboon, confirmed that the group will march to the Parliament on Monday November 24th, to protest the Constitution rewrite by the puppet government, and to call for the state to take responsibility for the October 7th clash. They stressed that the gathering will be peaceful and wCore leader of the People’s Alliance for Democracy or PAD including Sondhi Limthongkul, Chamlong eapons will not be employed.
The leaders added that the upcoming rally is partictularly significant after the government have allegedly backed the use of explosives against innocent people, and the concern is that the public will be incited to further violent action against the state which would undoubtedly end in tragedy.
The group’s leaders also revealed that only the military own the type of M-79 grenade launcher capable of firing the type of explosive which fatally wounded a PAD security guard earlier today, alleging that the attack was committed by police officers supported by the government.
PAD core leader Chamlong said investigations suggest that the M-79 grenade was launched from the Metropolitan Police Headquarters, and the PAD guards went out to the scene to distribute food to military police officers. Meanwhile, other PAD leaders have called on the public to join the rally on Sunday at the Government House in as many numbers as possible.
Anti-Govt Protesters Head to Bangkok for Major Rally
Suriyan Thongnu-iad, a PAD coordinator in Chiang Mai province, stated that local supporters had not gathered to leave for Bangkok en mass, but decided to travel by car, coach bus, train and airplane to avoid being monitored.
Coordinator of Young PAD Chiang Mai, Wanfamai Thepchan, also revealed that many local Young PAD members have arrived in Bangkok and say they are ready to stay should the situation escalate.
Lampang PAD reserved three Bangkok bound carriages this morning, to be followed by a caravan of vans and coaches in the evening.
It was reported that some pro-government supporters wearing red shirts boarded the same train this morning, however, there was no reported disturbance.
Meanwhile, hundreds of PAD supporters in Ubonratchathani province gathered at Boonniyom Park in order to depart in a group. Some members commented that the recent bomb attack at the Government House had not discouraged them, but prompted them to stand up and fight .
Five buses loaded with PAD supporters left Pitsanulok province last night, while PAD members in Loei traveled by coaches and cars with General Kittisak Rattaprasert arriving to offer a suportive send-off.
PADs Nationwide Gather at Govt House, Ready to March to Parliament
A large number of PAD supporters from all provinces of Thailand has gradually arrived at Government House ahead of the group’s planned march to Parliament.
PAD leader Chamlong Srimuang has led a patrol of the Government House area this morning to prevent another bombing incident
Police Instructed to Use American Made Teargas and No Batons
Police have promised their will exercise utmost restraints when dealing with the PAD protesters. They have also revealed that only anti-riot shields will be used to control the protesters, and if teargas is needed only the American made grenades will be employed.Checkpoints have been set up to ensure that no third party can incite violence at the PAD rally site.
Sondhi: PAD to Launch Its Next Move at 6 a.m. Tomorrow
PAD leader Sondhi Limthongul took the PAD stage at Government House briefly to address one of the largest gatherings of PAD supporters.But the PAD leader declined to give the details of the PAD’s next moves. However he hinted that there may be different groups travelling to protest at various locations. One of the destinations could be the residence of General Kattiya Sawasdipol or General Daeng.
The PAD leader revealed that the PAD will launch its next move tomorrow at 6 a.m.
General Kattiya has always been vocal about his threats for the PAD to vacate the Government House.