Split emerges in red-shirt leadership

redleaders_cracked

Cracks have worsened within the leadership of the red shirts, as one faction is called communist leaning and its accuser an “inexperienced novice”.

Jatuporn Promphan, a red-shirt co-leader, said yesterday the red shirts did not agree with the communist-like strategy adopted by fugitive suspect Jakrapob Penkair.

jatupornJatuporn, who is also an MP from the opposition Pheu Thai Party, confirmed the red shirts had severed ties with the Jakrapob-led splinter group.

“We want democracy under the King as head of state, therefore our activities are limited to attacking Privy Council president Prem Tinsulanonda or lower figures to prevent an escalating fight transgressing the constitutional monarchy,” he said.

Jatuporn said Jakrapob’s ally Surachai Danwattananusorn was an ex-communist prone to violent struggle.

Jakrapob and Surachai had formed the splinter group called Red Siam, detaching themselves from the mainstream red-shirt movement.

Surachai said yesterday most people in the country were aware he had been a communist for more than 30 years, and he considered Jatuporn an inexperienced novice. Surachai also noted there were other former communists among the red-shirt leadership, including Weng Tojirakarn, Jaran Dittha-apichai, and Vipoothalaeng Pattanaphumthai.

Speaking from his home province of Nakhon Si Thammarat, Surachai defended Jakrapob’s leaving the country during the April crackdown on the red-shirt protesters. He said certain red-shirt leaders should consider Shinawatra Thaksin when they mentioned Jakrapob’s ‘fleeing the country’ negatively, as ‘the big boss’ was also a self-imposed exile overseas.

“He is not a coward. He escaped so that he could fight back. He does not give up,” said Surachai.

He expressed doubt about the strategy of filing a petition seeking a royal pardon for Thaksin. He said the chance was zero for the Privy Council to endorse the petition, given that the red shirts had severely attacked the council’s president, General Prem Tinsulanonda. He said the petition move did not sit well with the red shirts’ campaign against “elitist polity”.

By The Nation
Published on August 28, 2009

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