Jakrapob Penkair, who went into hiding after an arrest warrant was issued against him, told the Straits Times that he was “in the midst of setting up a base” from which to run the red-shirt movement.
Speaking from an “undisclosed location”, Jakrapob said: “This is a place to work from, where people can brainstorm, follow the situation and analyse it closely.”
The 42-year-old is the only red-shirt leader to have escaped arrest for allegedly instigating disorder in the country. He disappeared on April 13, the day before other red-shirt leaders brought the protest to a halt.
The protest was brought to an end after protesters created chaos by burning buses and tyres as well as clashing with Bangkok residents.
In the interview with the Singapore-based newspaper, Jakrapob said the assassination attempt on Sondhi Limthongkul, a key leader of the royalist People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD), was an indication that “they” were trying to topple the leadership of both the red and yellow shirts.
“They are trying to gain control now,” he said, without identifying who “they” were.
The newspaper said this was the first contact Jakrapob had made with foreign media, though he was said to have lined up interviews with wire agencies yesterday.
Jakrapob told the daily that the red shirts had spent the past couple of years educating people, and that the movement had entered the “action” phase.
“I believe people are now deciding whether peaceful means serve them best. We are not encouraging violence, but we have to admit that people have been repeatedly disappointed,” he said.
“Legal standards have been clearly unfair and unjust. I am not saying there will be violence in the days ahead. But the remaining opportunities for a peaceful solution are decreasing every day.
“We still talk about a peaceful way in which people can get their rights back. But people have the right to defend themselves against aggression,” he explained.
When asked to comment on the charges and arrest warrant against him, he said: “The whole system is distorted, there’s no justice awaiting me or any of us.”
By The Nation
Published on April 21, 2009
Vow to fight on from hiding
THAI anti-government protesters will continue their campaign against Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva, one of their leaders said on Monday from an unknown location abroad where he is in hiding.
Jakropob Penkair, a senior member of the so-called ‘Red Shirt’ protest movement loyal to ousted former premier Thaksin Shinawatra, said he had fled the country to avoid an arrest warrant for inciting violence.
‘We have got ourselves in a safe place and we are setting up an office which we will obviously use to continue the movement,’ Mr Jakropob told AFP in a telephone call diverted by an assistant to avoid detection.
‘We have developed some strategies so we have had to spend time analysing the situation,’ said Jakropob, who was briefly a minister in a previous, pro-Thaksin government last year.
Pro-Thaksin demonstrators shut down an Asian summit in the beach resort of Pattaya on April 11 and then clashed with troops in Bangkok on Monday. Two people were killed and 123 injured in the unrest in the capital.
The Red Shirts want Mr Abhisit to quit and call elections, saying that he came to power unfairly in December after a court toppled Thaksin’s allies from power.
Thai authorities have issued arrest warrants for Thaksin, who is living in exile, and 12 other senior members of the movement accused of inciting violence, including Jakropob.
Mr Jakropob said that there had been disagreement within the Red Shirts over whether to abandon their three-week vigil outside Mr Abhisit’s offices last Tuesday, although he was not there at the time it dispersed.
‘The decision to call off the gathering was not consensus but I respect the decision taken by those in the field because I was not there myself,’ he said. ‘Because I couldn’t monitor the situation from outside I decided when it became the way (to disperse the protest) to leave the country.’
He said that he was ‘in touch’ with Thaksin, who was until recently in Dubai, ‘but he’s not instructing what we do here.’ — AFP
STRIATS TIMES, April 20, 2009
Jakrapob: UDD plans new revolt
Fugitive red-shirt Jakrapob Penkair has declared the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD) is already planning another attempt to topple the government and will launch it if Prime Minister Abhisit does not find a way to bring about strong and lasting reconciliation.
Mr Jakrapob has fled the country. He has not been seen public since a state of emergency was declared last week to end the UDD rampage in Pattaya and Bangkok. A warrant has been issued for his arrest for incitement to violence. The other UDD leaders stayed in Thailand.
Mr Jakrapob phoned several news agencies from an undisclosed location to announced his plans for a continuing revolt.
He said the red-shirt group may start a small anti-government rally in the next two to three days. The protesters would abide by the law. They also might rally outside Government House again some time in the future, he said.
He said he would stay underground for as long as needed.
“It is too late for the UDD to just yield and stop its movement, and nobody can tell what will happen next,” said Mr Jakrapob.
He claimed that soldiers were sent undercover to blend in with the red-shirt group during the riot last week, and they were the ones who tried to discredit the UDD by burning public buses, inciting unrest and causing bloodshed.
He also claimed the attack on People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD) leader Sondhi Limthongkul on Friday was staged by the army and the Democrat party, and that this could be a signal for the army to eliminate both red-shirt and yellow-shirt groups.
Mr Sondhi was targeted because he knew too much, he said.
The UDD said he was setting up a base to support the anti-government movement, he claimed.
“The decision to end the UDD rally last week was not unanimous, but I respect other core members’ decisions since I was not in the situation at the moment,” said Mr Jakrapob.
He said he had recently talked with former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra when he was in Dubai, but claimed Thaksin did not give orders to the UDD leaders during last week’s protest.
Bangkok Post/ April21, 2009
Red shirts to use new tactics including possible armed attacks : Jakrapob
Runaway red shirted leader Jakrapob Penkair promised that the “red-shirt” protest movement in Thailand would continue a clandestine campaign against the Abhisit government.
One of the most outspoken red shirted leader, Jakrapob managed to escape overseas after the army broke up the mass protests in Bangkok a week ago.
Speaking to the BBC from in hiding, he said the movement would use different tactics to confront the government, including possible armed attacks.
“I believe the room for unarmed and non-violent means to resolve Thailand’s problem is getting smaller every day,” he told BBC.
The sudden end of the red-shirt protests last week has left the movement in disarray.
Five of the organisers have been arrested and are being held under the emergency decree, which is still in effect.
Speaking by phone from an undisclosed location, he told the BBC that the struggle to bring down the current government would continue, but that they would no longer rely on conventional forms of protest.
“The state of emergency is a big help. It puts people underground. I believe the room for unarmed and non-violent means to resolve Thailand’s problem is getting smaller every day,” he said.
The Nation, April22, 2009