The People’s Alliance for Democracy is considering staging a counter demonstration if the anti-government red-shirt rally planned for Wednesday turns unruly.
“The five leaders of the PAD have been monitoring the situation every hour out of concern that the red shirts might tend towards violence,” PAD spokesman Suriyasai Katasila said yesterday.
The red shirts might had made the unreasonable demand about wiping out ” bureaucratic polity” with the aim to involve the military in any eruption of violence, he said.
The PAD-led yellow shirts would not allow the red shirts to provoke chaos, he said.
Pheu Thai MP Pracha Prasopdee said more than 500,000 red shirts were expected to join the mass rally.
He dismissed speculation that ex-premier Thaksin Shinawatra was staying in Cambodia, based on a telephone conversation with him on Saturday night. Thaksin’s phone number indicated he was in the Middle East.
The red shirts were ready to lead an uprising more powerful than the October 14, 1973 incident, he said.
Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said in his weekly address that he was concerned about attacks on the country’s revered institutions and leading figures.
Rival camps should not try to harm the country for political gain, he said.
Although the government will tolerate political differences, its opponents are obliged to observe the rule of law, he said.
The Legal Execution Department is in the process of enforcing the injunction against blocking access to Government House, so protesters should comply with the court order and remove their blockade, he said.
The government would not permit them to stay above the law, he said.
As for the red-shirts’ demand for House dissolution, he would call for a general election as soon as the situation warranted a peaceful transition of power. But would not act in haste, as that might lead to more confusion and instability.
Anti-government protesters yesterday threatened to sabotage the Asean Summit scheduled to start in Pattaya this Friday, if the government jams their community radio stations.
Their leader, Natthawut Saikuea, told a press conference at the protest site that the government has tried to prevent red-shirt supporters upcountry from joining their comrades rallying at Government House in Bangkok.
Officials had interfered with the signals of a taxi drivers community radio station but the problem has now been fixed, he ssid.
PM’s Office Minister Satit Wonghnongtaey, who supervises state-run media, should ensure that there are no more disruptions to radio transmissions, otherwise the Asean Summit would not go smoothly, he added.
The Asean leaders will meet their counterparts from six nations – China, Japan, South Korea, India, Australia and New Zealand – on Friday and Saturday.
By The Nation
Published on April 6, 2009
PAD plans revolt against red shirts
Fears of bloodshed spark comeback plans
The People’s Alliance for Democracy is pledging to stage a comeback and mount a counter-rally if the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship’s political gathering on Wednesday escalates into violence.
The PAD, which has kept a low profile since the Democrat-led coalition government came to power in December, fears the red-shirt rally could deteriorate into violence and lead to military intervention.
Supporters of Privy Council president Prem Tinsulanonda will also hold a rally on Wednesday, raising fears they could be on a collision course with the red shirts.
Gen Prem has said he would stay at home on rally day.
PAD coordinator Suriyasai Katasila said core leaders of the alliance have monitored the UDD’s movements and they shared the view that the UDD rally could trigger violence.
He said the UDD leaders were pressing demands that are impossible to meet, which limits the chances of breaking the political impasse.
He said the UDD leaders’ drive against what they call “a government system dominated by the bureaucrats” is only creating a false impression that they are fighting for democracy. In fact, the anti-government campaign was designed to serve the vested interests of the UDD leaders and particularly to help clear the name of former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, Mr Suriyasai said.
If the rally on Wednesday gets out of hand and degenerates into violence, the military could use this as an excuse to intervene, he said.
This would play into the hands of Thaksin and would only support his argument that the country remained undemocratic.
He said if the UDD did anything to provoke violence on Wednesday, the PAD would mount its own major rally.
The PAD was concerned the UDD would lead the country into chaos by holding rallies.
It could lay siege to important government places to force the government to bow to its demands – the tactics used by the PAD itself during its protests last year.
“If the UDD tries to do damage to the country or to establish a new system of government, the PAD is ready to make a move against it straight away,” Mr Suriyasai said.
A group called A Patriots’ Network yesterday took up positions outside Gen Prem’s Si Sao Thewes home.
Network leader Pradit Orn-rak said the group would block part of Si Ayutthaya road near the army club and set up a rally stage.
Mr Pradit urged more people to join them on Wednesday to rally behind the privy council chief and to unite against the UDD and Thaksin.
He said the group did not want to provoke confrontation or violence but intended to protect and defend the Privy Council.
Mr Pradit said the red-shirt protesters had no right to protest in front of Gen Prem’s home.
Their demonstrations would be a violation of his rights and would not comply with the law and the constitution.
Government House and parliament should be the place for them to call for democracy, he said.
Democrat party spokesman Buranat Samutrak yesterday said Thaksin was trying to change the system of government and his video broadcast speeches had damaged the judicial system.
In his video-link speech to his red-shirt supporters at a gathering outside Government House yesterday, Thaksin repeated calls for more of his supporters to turn up at Wednesday’s rally.
Thaksin again rejected allegations that he had tried to overthrow the monarchy.
He stressed he wanted a democratic system with the King as head of state.
Thaksin insisted it was the regime dominated by the “old-world” bureaucrats that he wanted to wipe out
PAD Not to Confront Red-shirts in Tomorrow’s Rally
core leader of the People’s Alliance for Democracy has vowed that the group will not protest against the Democratic Alliance against Dictatorship, because some parties would like to use a confrontation between the two groups as an excuse to use force to break up the red-shirt anti-government protest.
Sondhi Limthongkul, one of the core leaders of the People’s Alliance for Democracy, or PAD, said on his ‘Good Morning Thailand’ talk-show on ASTV that some would like to see a confrontation between the PAD and the anti-government red-shirt protesters.
Sondhi said some people would like to engineer the conditions under which Army Chief General Anupong Paojinda and Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban could disperse the anti-government protest with force.
Sondhi added that he and other PAD leaders will only monitor the DAAD’s continuing protest, which is expected to escalate tomorrow, because they believe it is time for the government, Army and police to resolve the crisis.
However, he insisted that the PAD has not given up its long fight against ousted former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, and that PAD networks across the country are ready to mobilize if the government fails to stop the DAAD.
Sondhi also struck back at General Anupong for his recent criticisms of the PAD, saying the group has struggled to protect the country’s institutions and to see justice done.
He said General Anupong’s priority is remaining in power and protecting Defense Minister General Prawit Wongsuwan and National Police Chief Police General Pathcarawat Wongsuwan