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No talks with government

Posted by hasekamp on 31 January 2014 at 11:08 AM
The anti-government People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) today rejected having talks with the caretaker government as they marched in the capital to drum up support for their campaign to boycott Sunday's election. PDRC leader Suthep Thaugsuban led his supporters marching along Ratchadapisek Road, the second day of the group's campaign urging people to reject Sunday's election. He was greeted by cheerful crowds who gathered along the route to show their support for the movement. Mr Suthep announced that he would not join any talks with the caretaker government as he was busy leading the anti-government rally. (Source: MCOT)


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Suthep lives in a dream

Posted by hasekamp on 29 January 2014 at 22:16 PM
Suthep Thaugsuban, known as "Kamnan Suthep", says his life has completely changed since he abandoned the politics of parliament and stepped out to lead the street protests against the Pheu Thai-led government. "My life is like a dream. When I wake up, there are many people around me. "Occasionally I have to sleep in a tent in the centre of a rally site, and this makes me more aware that the people who come here have sacrificed many things and I cannot abandon them,"Mr Suthep said in an exclusive interview with the Bangkok Post.
The former Democrat Party powerbroker admitted he has to be very careful at all times when travelling. Police, both in uniform and plainclothes, had tried to stop and arrest him by parking public buses in the middle of the street to prevent him passing through, but other police had tipped him off  in advance and he was able to narrowly escape their clutches. "I've been in this type of situation numerous times, but I've always managed to escape," he said. As leader of the anti-government People's Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC), he said his supporters - who he referred to as the "great mass uprising" or "muan maha prachachon" - asked him about the PDRC's next move everytime he called for a mass gathering. (Source:The Bangkok Post)


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Suthep lives in a dream

Posted by hasekamp on 29 January 2014 at 18:54 PM
Suthep Thaugsuban, known as "Kamnan Suthep", says his life has completely changed since he abandoned the politics of parliament and stepped out to lead the street protests against the Pheu Thai-led government. "My life is like a dream. When I wake up, there are many people around me. "Occasionally I have to sleep in a tent in the centre of a rally site, and this makes me more aware that the people who come here have sacrificed many things and I cannot abandon them,"Mr Suthep said in an exclusive interview with the Bangkok Post.
The former Democrat Party powerbroker admitted he has to be very careful at all times when travelling. Police, both in uniform and plainclothes, had tried to stop and arrest him by parking public buses in the middle of the street to prevent him passing through, but other police had tipped him off  in advance and he was able to narrowly escape their clutches. "I've been in this type of situation numerous times, but I've always managed to escape," he said. As leader of the anti-government People's Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC), he said his supporters - who he referred to as the "great mass uprising" or "muan maha prachachon" - asked him about the PDRC's next move everytime he called for a mass gathering. (Source:The Bangkok Post)


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Effort to stop state of emergency

Posted by hasekamp on 27 January 2014 at 10:52 AM
A core protest leader on Monday filed a lawsuit with the Civil Court against the caretaker premier, the chief and deputy chief of the government's peacekeeping centre, accusing them of invoking a state of emergency without legitimacy. Thaworn Senneam asked the Court to revoke the state of emergency decree and prohibit the dispersal of the antigovernment protesters. The defendants were caretaker premier Yingluck Shinawatra, Centre for Maintaining Peace and Order’s chief Chalerm Yoobamrung and deputy chief Pol Gen Adul Saengsingkaew. Thaworn based his complaint on the Constitutional Court’s ruling that the PDRC protest has been lawful since it is unarmed and peaceful, thus, the government does not need to impose the state of emergency, which restricts the protesters' rights. He said he had to file the suit with the Civil Court because the emergency decree did not allow them to bring the case to the Administrative Court. He said the rally leaders would not lead the protesters at the Victory Monument site to lay siege to any state premises, fearing for the protesters' safety. (Source: The Nation)


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US very concerned about blocking elections

Posted by hasekamp on 27 January 2014 at 10:45 AM
The US is "deeply troubled" by anti-government protests that blocked advance general election voting (part of the February 2 elections) on Sunday, according to a statement from the Department of State. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki insisted that the US takes no sides in Thailand's ongoing political dispute. She said that the US strongly supports freedom of expression and the right to peaceful protest, but said preventing citizens from voting violates their universal rights and is inconsistent with democratic values. Ms Psaki reiterated a call for all sides of the political divide to refrain from violence, exercise restraint, and commit to sincere dialogue to resolve their differences peacefully and democratically. The US stopped short of issuing a further travel alert to its citizens. Its latest notice was put out on Jan 21 after the government imposed a 60-day state of emergency in Bangkok and surrounding provinces. The Department of State is urging US citizens to avoid all protests, demonstrations and large gatherings. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Home of a protest leader under fire

Posted by hasekamp on 27 January 2014 at 10:41 AM
The shophouse home of a People's Democratic Reform Committee leader in Ratchaburi province came under a gunfire early Monday, police said. Yuthapol Pathomsathit, 50, reported the incident to Muang district police on Monday morning. He said the attack occured about 2am at his house in Village 3 in tambon Khok Mo. Police who investigated found about 10 bullet holes in the rolling steel door of Mr Yuthapol's house. His neighbours said they saw a car arrive and some people in it open fire at the shophouse before fleeing. Mr Yuthapol believed the attack was linked to his leading a group of PDRC protesters to lay siege to the provincial city hall last week. He is also the leader of the protest against a floodway project on the Mae Klong River. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Army regrets shooting protest leader

Posted by hasekamp on 27 January 2014 at 10:38 AM
Army chief Prayuth Chan-ocha regrets the death of Suthin Tharatin, a core leader of the People's Democratic Force to Overthrow Thaksinism, in a clash near a polling station in Bang Na on Sunday and will work with the Centre for Managing Peace and Order (CMPO) about stepping up security measures, army spokesman Col Winthai Suwari announced on Monday. Many other people were reported wounded in the attack. "The army chief is sorry for what happened. He is concerned about the continued use of violence and does not want to see this happen in Thai society," Col Winthai said. Col Winthai said Gen Prayuth will ask the CMPO to step up security measures at spots considered prone to violence. The army chief believes the police will follow up the case. Gen Prayuth does not want this to be used to further expand the conflict and derail efforts to solve the problems, he added. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Protest leader shot dead at polling station

Posted by hasekamp on 27 January 2014 at 10:36 AM
An anti-government protest leader was killed yesterday (Sunday) afternoon while leading a blockade at a polling station for advance voting in Bang Na in Bangkok, while 10 others were injured, reported the city's Erawan Emergency Centre. Suthin Taratin, leader of People's Army to Overthrow the Thaksin Regime, was declared dead at Vibharam Hospital after being shot in the head outside the polling station in Wat Sri-iam Temple compound. Police have yet to identify the shooter at press time. The 10 injured were rushed to nearby hospitals. The shooting happened at about 2pm as Suthin and protesters were confronted by red-shirt supporters at the temple. He was shot as he was descending from the back of truck where he used as stage as sounds of shooting was heard. After reports of a skirmish between the two sides, police rushed to the scene to find a ransacked Toyota pick-up truck with a smashed windshield and windows, while two loudspeakers were dumped in a roadside ditch, and t-shirts with anti-government protest symbols scattered around the area. Police retrieved a bullet-proof vest, a home-made shotgun, two shotgun cartridges, one M16 bullet, a foot-long knife, whistles, slingshots and metal balls from the truck as evidence. Police also found a pool of blood on the road island and one spent bullet. (Source: The Nation)


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Suthep sends letters to Obama and Ban Ki-moon

Posted by hasekamp on 25 January 2014 at 23:42 PM
Suthep Thaugsuban sent a letter to US President Barack Obama on Friday defending his fight against caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra. He said another letter was sent to United Nations Secretary-general Ban Ki-moon to explain the ideas of the People's Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC). Mr Obama and Mr Ban to date have had distorted information from some media organisations and lobbyists hired by the network of former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, Mr Suthep told protesters at the Pathumwan rally stage. "Let me assure you that the PDRC is not conducting an anti-democratic uprising. In fact, the PDRC is a pro-democracy movement intent upon removing the dictatorial regime led by Yingluck Shinawatra, who has been empowered through and directed by her elder brother, Thaksin Shinawatra," he said in the letter, a copy of which was obtained by the Bangkok Post. "Thai citizens have a moral responsibility to rise up and demand the removal of both Yingluck and the influence of Thaksin, then define and implement the reform necessary to ensure that the Kingdom of Thailand remains free from unjust and corrupt leaders in the future," the letter continued. The reform would bring about "free and fair" elections, Mr Suthep added. (Source: The Bangkok Post) NOTE: Who does this man think he is?


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US condems protests

Posted by hasekamp on 23 January 2014 at 19:26 PM
The United States on Wednesday issued a statement expressing concern about the recent violence in Bangkok and calling on all sides of the political divide to avoid using violence and respect the rule of law. It said the US supports Thailand's democratic system and encouraged opponents to talk to resolve differences peacefully. "The United States strongly condemns increasing violence in Bangkok that has resulted in deaths and injuries. We urge Thai authorities to investigate these attacks and bring those responsible to justice. We urge all sides to refrain from violence, exercise restraint, and respect the rule of law," said the statement, which was posted on the US Department of State website. Previously, the US issued a travel advisory warning all American citizens of the "potential risks of travel to Thailand". (Source The Bangkok Post)


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Army is ready

Posted by hasekamp on 23 January 2014 at 19:23 PM
"Whenever conflicts become violent and insoluble, the military will have to solve them. We will do our best to take care of the nation and use the right methods," he said. He warned that some groups were using illegal and violent methods to stir up unrest but they would not succeed. "I condemn these people. I have some information about who they are. I repeat my warning that they must not [use violence] again. We are gathering evidence so police can take legal action," Gen Prayuth said. He said many groups of people are speaking forcefully on radio stations, threatening government officials and mobilising their people to trigger clashes. He viewed those actions as unlawful and demanded the government take action against those groups. Gen Prayuth said soldiers were trying every means to prevent violence. The army chief refused to comment on the necessity of the government's decision to exercise the emergency decree in Bangkok and nearby provinces to cope with protesters. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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State of emergency

Posted by hasekamp on 23 January 2014 at 19:17 PM
The government's decision to invoke the emergency decree to push for Feb 2 election is likely to backfire with protests set to expand and the Constitution Court expected to rule on an election postponement soon, political observers say. Anti-government protesters, in defiance of the decree which took effect on Wednesday, surrounded the Office of the Defence Ministry's permanent secretary after Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra went to work there yesterday morning. After protesters arrived, Ms Yingluck and Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Surapong Tovichakchaikul left the compound through the back gate. The Election Commission (EC) took steps in an apparent attempt to delay the poll by asking the charter court to rule who between the agency and the government has the authority to defer the election. The EC is likely to go for a delay if the court says it has the power to do so. There is also a question of whether the government can actually enforce the emergency decree. National Security Council secretary-general Paradorn Pattanatabut said he did not believe the decree would make the protests grow stronger. He expected resistance in the early stages but soon the protesters would understand the situation and withdraw. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Security guard shot

Posted by hasekamp on 19 January 2014 at 22:12 PM
A 53-year-old security guard was shot and was severely injured at the Lat Phrao rally site at 11:20 pm Saturday, the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA)'s Erawan Emergency Medical Services Centre announced. He was rushed to the intensive care unit of the Mayo Hospital. He was transferred to the Bhumibhol Hospital at 3:45 am. The centre said the man is a security guard of the People's Democratic Reform Committee. (Source: The Nation)


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Army chief regrets attack

Posted by hasekamp on 19 January 2014 at 22:07 PM
Army chief Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha regretted that the Victory Monument rally site was attacked with grenades, Deputy Army Spokesman Col Winthai Suwaree said. He said Prayuth instructed Army officers concerned to coordinate with the Centre for the Administration of Peace and Order to adapt joint security checkpoints to prevent more attacks. The spokesman said the Army officers would also coordinate with Police Commissioner-General Pol Gen Adul Saengsingkaew to have police speed up probe into all the attacks. Winthai said police could not yet pinpoint the masterminds of the attacks. He said the attacks might prompt more people to come out to join protests to demand justice and the situation could worsen. (Source: The Nation)


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Grenade thrown at protesters

Posted by hasekamp on 19 January 2014 at 21:10 PM
A hand grenade went off on Banthat Thong road on Friday in the column of marching protesters of the People's Democratic Reform Committee led by Suthep Thaugsuban. It was not thrown from any high building in that area but was the work of at least two men who mingled among the demonstrators, the Centre for the Administration of Peace and Order (Capo) said Sunday. The announcement was made by Deputy Prime Minister Surapong Tovichakchaikul, who is in charge of Capo, and referred to the attack that left at least 36 people wounded. One one of them, Prakong Chuchan, 46, a resident of Nakhon Si Thammarat, died on Saturday morning. Mr Surapong said that according to evidence collected from the crime scene, including the footage of security surveillance cameras in the area and the questioning of witnesses by police, it was found that the grenade that went off was not thrown from any of the high buildings along Banthat Thong road. Video clips examined by police showed two men acting in a suspicious manner. One of them, wearing a white hat, walked quickly from the tail of the marching column, dropped an object and ran to hide behind an iron box containing telephone circuit boards. After the grenade exploded, he and another man walked from the box to pick up fragments of the bomb and left without paying attention to the people who were injured and lying on the road. Mr Surapong said police investigation of the blast at Banthat Thong road showed it was apparently created to harm demonstrators but not PDRC leaders. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Second blast during rallies

Posted by hasekamp on 19 January 2014 at 21:06 PM
Twenty eight people including a female reporter were injured in a bomb explosion at the Victory Monument anti-government protest rally site on Sunday afternoon. One of the 28 wounded is Sithinee Huangnak, a reporter for Post Today newspaper, who was admitted to nearby Ratchawithi Hospital. Ms Sithinee was later transferred to Phyathai 2 hospital. Twelve others wounded were taken to Ratchawithi, nine to Ramathibodi, four to King Chulalongkorn and two to Phra Mongkut hospitals, according to the Erawan Centre. It was the second daylight bombing to hit the anti-government protest in two days. (NOTE: see elsewhere on this page for the first assault.) On Friday, a bomb was thrown at protesters marching along Banthat Thong Road, injuring 38 people. One, Prakong Chuchan, 46 of Nakhon Si thammarat, later died in hospital. Police are seeking to question an aide to a former Democrat MP over the attack. Thaworn Senneam, a former Democrat MP and core PDRC co-leader in charge at the Victory Monument rally base, said an unidentified man threw an explosive device near a press centre tent behind the rally stage and ran off at about 1.30pm. He said he believed the bomb was intended for him, but it hit a tree. The man was chased by security guards and protesters, prompting him to toss another bomb. But the group continued to try to catch him and the man fired a shot at them, leaving at least one person injured, before fleeing on a motorcycle driven by another man, heading toward Tuek Chai intersection. It was believed the bomb thrower was one of six assailants at the scene. Mr Thaworn believes the bomber was targeting him as the bomb exploded only 20 metres away from where he was standing. Before the incident, guards spotted a suspicious-looking man and asked him to leave the protest venue. A group of suspicious men later were seen scouting at the back of the rally stage, he said. Mr Thaworn said two witnesses recognised the six suspects and were able to identify them. Two grenade safety levers and a grenade safety pin were found at the scene, he added. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Suthep wants to close all state agencies

Posted by hasekamp on 15 January 2014 at 20:40 PM
Anti-government protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban on Wednesday night urged supporters to ensure all state agencies that are still working are shut down by the end of this week, saying he was confident the caretaker government would go before the Feb 2 election. He said he believed the Bangkok Shutdown operation has made some impact so far as more and more government officials have stop working and are lending their support to The People's Democratic Reform Committee. “Every state office will be shut down by the end of this week. After that we will visit each minister’s house,” he said. “Time for this government is running out and we will win for sure.” (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Elections must go on

Posted by hasekamp on 15 January 2014 at 20:37 PM
Most participants at a government-sponsored meeting on Wednesday agreed the Feb 2 general election should not be postponed and that the government has no authority to change it. The discussion between the caretaker government and representatives from about 70 organisations started at 10am at the Royal Thai Air Force headquarters, after caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra arrived amid tight security. It was open to the media. The anti-government People's Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) and the Democrat Party refused to take part in the discussion, and the Election Commission (EC) sent its secretary-general, not a commission member. The five commissioners have instead requested a private meeting with Ms Yingluck on Thursday. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Suthep plans criminal action

Posted by hasekamp on 14 January 2014 at 9:40 AM
Suthep Thaugsuban, secretary-general of the People's Democratic Reform Committee, Tuesday threatened to capture five caretaker Cabinet members. Suthep alleged that the five ministers and Pheu Thai secretary-general Phumtham Wechayachai were the ones who encouraged Yingluck Shinawatra to remain in her position as the caretaker prime minister. The five ministers are Deputy Prime Minister Surapong Tovichakchaikul, Labour Minister Chalerm Yoobamrung, Deputy Prime Minister Pracha Promnog, Education Minister Chaturon Chaisang, and Deputy Prime Minister Plodprasop Suraswadi, Suthep said. (Source: The Nation)


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Banks, THAI closed

Posted by hasekamp on 14 January 2014 at 9:37 AM
Bank of Thailand reported that as of 11 am, commercial banks have closed 135 branches in Bangkok. Of total, 36 will be closed all day, while the remaining 99 will be closed prior to the normal closing time.
THAI has closed its main ticketing office. (Source: The Nation)


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Main shopping area to close early

Posted by hasekamp on 14 January 2014 at 9:33 AM
Siam Paragon, Siam Centre and Siam Discovery shopping malls near the Pathumwan rally site will close at 6pm on Tuesday, the public relations of the group announced. The shopping malls were opened at 10 am. The PR division said in a press statement that shoppers can drive to the malls on Phayathai Road and enter the parking lot at the back of Siam Discovery or can drive on the Henry-Dunant Road. Shoppers can also reach the malls via BTS skytrain services by exiting at the Siam Square station. (Source: The Nation)


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Socialmedia and the shutdown

Posted by hasekamp on 14 January 2014 at 9:30 AM
The social media are flooded since Monday with messages and photos of the "Bangkok Shutdown". People use four main hashtags -#BangkokShutdown #BKKShutdown #ShutdownBangkok and #ShutdownBKK - and were acting as citizen journalists joining newspapers and TV and radio stations in reporting the latest from the rallies. Monitoring of Twitter's timeline showed that the number of tweets in Thai and English were about equal. Thais outside of Bangkok also used the social media, especially Twitter, as the main channel to deliver their messages as well as to monitor news updates. A group of Thais gathered in Times Square in New York to express support for the Bangkok shutdown. (Source: The Nation)


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Suthep and EC refuse talks

Posted by hasekamp on 14 January 2014 at 9:26 AM
The anti-government People's Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) and the Election Commission (EC) have rejected the premier's overture to discuss a possible postponement of the Feb 2 election. Suranand Vejjajiva, secretary-general to the prime minister, said yesterday caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra planned to invite those for and against the Feb 2 election to discuss the EC's recommendation to defer the poll today. Mr Suranand said invitees include the PDRC, the EC, political parties including the Democrat Party which boycotted the Feb 2 poll, the pro-government United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD), representatives of the cabinet and private-sector organisations. Altogether, caretaker Deputy Prime Minister Pongthep Thepkanchana is sending about 70 invitations to the talk tomorrow. Most of them are leaders of political parties and the rest include the supreme commander and permanent secretaries for defence, interior and foreign affairs, as well as representatives of the Auditor-General's Office and Constitution Court. Mr Suranand said Ms Yingluck will chair the meeting. She wants the discussion to be inclusive, although the session will not touch on political reform, a key issue the PDRC insists must precede a general election. However, the PDRC has snubbed the discussion. Mr Suthep has made it clear that there will be no talks with the government, the army or any mediator. Election commissioner Somchai Srisuthiyakorn said the EC has not received an invitation and even if it did, it would not join the talk. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Suthep targets on cabinet

Posted by hasekamp on 14 January 2014 at 9:22 AM
The People's Democratic Reform Committee will intensify its protest, including laying siege to the houses of caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and key cabinet ministers, and even take them into custody, if they do not resign, PDRC secretary-general Suthep Thaugsuban declared on Tuesday. Mr Suthep made this announcement while speaking on the stage at Asok intersection, inviting more people to join the PDRC's Bangkok shutdown. He said that he would tomorrow, Jan 15, lead protesters in a march from Asok intersection along Sukhumvit, Phetchaburi and Ekamai roads before returning to Asok. He might also lead the protesters to capture some government offices, Mr Suthep said. Mr Suthep said in the next two to three days, the protesters would move to lay siege to all government offices. If the caretaker government still refused to comply with the PDRC's demand that they all resign, the PDRC would lift the protest to a higher level by blockading the houses of the prime minister and important cabinet members. If they still refused to budge, the protesters would take the prime minister and cabinet ministers into custody, he said. PDRC continues to insist that Ms Yingluck and her caretaker cabinet resign to enable national reform before an election. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Customs work as usual

Posted by hasekamp on 14 January 2014 at 9:20 AM
The blockade of the Customs Department will not affect the work of the department, the department's deputy director-general Yuthana Yimkarun said. Mr Yuthana said this after holding talks with Sathit Segal, a People's Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) core member who led a group of protesters from Lumpini to lay siege to the Customs Department in Khlong Toey area. He said the blockade would not disrupt shipments of goods since the department had taken measures to prevent that happening. The protesters had agreed to return to Lumpini after the symbolic seizure, he added. Mr Sathit said the PDRC only wanted to show it wants government officials to stand on the people's side but would not do anything to harm the country's economy. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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TAT stops promotion

Posted by hasekamp on 14 January 2014 at 9:16 AM
The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) has decided to postpone new local marketing activities to promote Thai tourism this month and next, as Bangkok may be shut down by anti-government protesters today.
Juthaporn Rerngronasa, the deputy governor for marketing in Europe, Africa, the Middle East and the Americas, said the TAT is not worried about the European market as long as the protests are peaceful. As of last Friday, 45 countries and territories have issued travel advisories warning their citizens to avoid travelling to Bangkok, especially near protest areas. Three other countries, Saudi Arabia, Oman and Kuwait, have warned their citizens to reconsider their need to travel to Thailand, especially Bangkok. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Suthep: Army not behind shutdown

Posted by hasekamp on 14 January 2014 at 9:10 AM
People's Democratic Reform Committee leader Suthep Thaugsuban has insisted there are no soldiers holding the rank of general behind "Operation Bangkok shutdown" as reported by some media outlets. Mr Suthep said this in an interview with BlueSky television station while leading protesters in a march from Ratchadamnoen Avenue to the Pathumwan and Ratchaprasong intersections, two of the seven main locations for the PDRC's campaign to shutdown Bangkok. Asked to comment on a report that caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra was using the Defence Ministry to monitor the situation, Mr Suthep said no matter where she was Ms Yingluck was no longer able to perform her duties. He apologised to Bangkok people for the inconvenience caused by the PDRC and asked them to sacrifice for the sake of the country. "I am now leading the masses to various rally points. They can stop and join any of the rally sites, as they want," Mr Suthep said. Sathit Wongnongtoey, a PDRC core member, said after the PDRC protesters have reached the seven main rally points the Dharma Army would take care of the old rally site on Ratchadamnoen Avenue. He said the military had shown its intention to take care of the protesters, so they could rest assured that they would not be hurt. On the shots fired at the coffee shop in front of the office of the Democrat Party headquarters early this morning, Mr Sathit said that in fact the party had nothing to do with the PDRC movement. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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PM watches shutdown

Posted by hasekamp on 14 January 2014 at 9:07 AM
Caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra on Monday morning chaired a meeting of security-related agencies at the Defence Ministry to monitor the People's Democratic Reform Committee's (PDRC) shutdown of Bangkok. Those present at the meeting in the permanent secretary's office included caretaker Deputy Prime Ministers Surapong Tovichakchaikul, Niwatthamrong Boonsongpaisarn, Pracha Promnok and Pongthep Thepkanchana, Science and Technology Minister Pirapan Palusuk and Information and Technology Minister Anudith Nakornthap. Cartetaker Justice Minister Chaikasem Nitisiri, Deputy Defence Minister Yutthasak Sasiprapa, Deputy Education Minister Sermsak Pongpanich, Deputy Transport Minister Prin Suwannathat, Deputy Interior Minister Visarn Techatheerawat, defence permanent secretary Nipat Thonglek, National Security Council chief Paradorn Pattanatabut, interior permanent secretary Wiboon Sa-nguanpong, and Department of Special Investigation chief Tarit Pengdith also attended the meeting. The meeting was behind closed doors. Reporters were briefly allowed to take pictures and then ordered to leave before the meeting began. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Nation: Suthep is not the solution

Posted by hasekamp on 9 January 2014 at 12:57 PM
THE PLANNED "shutdown" of Bangkok as announced by People's Democratic Reform Committee (PRDC) secretary general Suthep Thaugsuban is drawing near. It has created widespread concern because it's clear there are many people willing to follow Suthep, and the spreading of the occupation to numerous spots around the city could be a high risk. The announcement of a plan to set up big rally stages mostly in the heart of Bangkok - at the Government Complex at Chaengwattana, Ladprao intersection, Victory Monument, Rajthevi intersection, Asoke intersection and Ratchaprasong intersection - would be enough to paralyse Bangkok traffic.
The big question for the PDRC is what it would do if the government played soft on Monday and avoided all forms of confrontation - because the longer it kept Bangkok shut, the fewer supporters and less support there would be. Let us not forget that the main support base for the PDRC is in Bangkok. While protesters may feel they're having fun, satisfied and even emboldened by the shutdown, the longer it drags on, the more dissatisfaction it will create, and the more they will distance themselves from the PDRC. But what will the PDRC do if the game drags on while the government is focused on the February 2 election? Although the election may lead to less than 95 per cent of MPs being elected, the Parliament can still be convened and the government will likely maintain its power. These factors will play against the PDRC. There's no certainty of a happy-ending scenario.
If all sides, particularly the PDRC, opened their hearts to a true negotiation and reduced the PDRC's impossible pre-conditions - such as insisting on a "people's revolution" or the setting up of a "People's Council", and directing its demands towards the creation of a national reform council in a way that is acceptable to both parties - then there's hope, however. Moves in the days ahead by both the government and the PDRC will determine whether Thailand will find a way out or will be trapped in darkness for a very long time. (Source: The Nation)


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Bangkok Post: Suthep should be shut down

Posted by hasekamp on 9 January 2014 at 12:49 PM
In an opinion the Bangkok Post says that Suthep should be shut down instead of Bangkok. Some excerpts:
"If only Thailand’s political fight could be settled by putting Thaksin Shinawatra and Suthep Thaugsuban in a steel cage, no-holds-barred two-men-enter-one-man-leaves match. Better yet, put Yingluck Shinawatra and Chitpas Kridakorn in there instead, but change the rules a little, more spectator friendly, and I’ll volunteer as the referee."
"Reform before an election? Reform is not done overnight. It takes years, three to five to be optimistic, to see any kind of results. Who’s going to run the country, however poorly, in the meantime? Suthep proposes setting up a people’s council and to have a royally bestowed prime minister run the country, however poorly. But it is Pheu Thai that won the general election and the King has already endorsed a prime minister, her name is Yingluck. So who is Suthep to change what the people have voted for and what the King has endorsed?"
"When Suthep speaks of reform, rest assured he means to rid Thailand of the Shinawatra family's political power and put said power in the hands of his own clique and cronies.That is the meaning of reform, and both sides know it. That’s why they are not sitting down together at a table to discuss reform. Nobody would be able to keep a straight face.
The only people who are fooled are the people still believing either side has the best interests of Thailand as a priority. Fortunately for Thaksin and Suthep, there are millions of such people. These are otherwise good and intelligent people, but goodness and intelligence too often don’t stand a chance against a tide of anger and hatred, plus tribal loyalty. Humans are emotional creatures. Add effective propaganda to righteous fervour, and suffer the fool."
"Yingluck is the one with the democratic legitimacy and royal endorsement to run this country, however poorly and unethically on behalf of her brother. Want to remove her? There are legal and democratic procedures." (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Reds wil organize counter-rally's

Posted by hasekamp on 9 January 2014 at 12:41 PM
The red-shirt United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD) on Tuesday announced it will stage nationwide counter-rallies ― but not in the southern provinces or Greater Bangkok ― on Jan 13, when the People's Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) begins its mass protest to shut down the capital. The UDD invited people all over the country "who love the nation and democracy" and do not want to see the damage to Thailand that would be caused by the PDRC shutdown of Bangkok, to begin demonstrating along main roads in their provinces from 9am on Jan 13, Mr Nattawut told the meeting. The demonstrations on that day would exclude Bangkok and its vicinity, to avoid confronting PDRC supporters, including the southern region where many people back the anti-government campaign. "Protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban will see how many people are against him" and the PDRC during the Jan 13 counter-rallies, Mr Nattawut added. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Problem for government

Posted by hasekamp on 9 January 2014 at 12:38 PM
The Constitution Court ruled by a majority vote on Wednesday that the draft amendment to Section 190 concerning international agreements was unconstitutional, dealing another blow to lawmakers supporting the Pheu Thai Party. One day after the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) pressed charges against 308 former MPs and senators of misconduct in connection with the charter amendment on the composition of the senate, the court ruled that the conduct of the lawmakers approving the draft amendment was unlawful. This time it involves 381 MPs and senators, who passed it in the third reading on Nov 4. In their verdict the Constitution Court judges said the draft amendment was in violation of at least six sections of the charter, including Section 68, which prohibits anyone from overthrowing the country's democratic system with the King as head of state. Its main thrust was to give more authority to the government in negotiating and signing international agreements on grounds that the present section delays this effort. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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PM: Maybe emergency decree

Posted by hasekamp on 6 January 2014 at 17:40 PM
Caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra insisted on Monday that declaring an emergency would be the last option in dealing with the current protests. She said the emergency decree was a harsh law was likely to lead to more violence. "It will be the last option but I would like to say that we are trying not to use it," Yingluck said. On Monday, Yingluck visited the Suvarnabhumi International Airport to provide moral support to security officials. Twelve companies of policemen and two companies of troops were deployed to ensure security at the airport. While Yingluck was making the inspection, policemen applauded and shouted "PM fight on", prompting her eyes to brim with tears. The troops applauded only when instructed to do by a police spokesman over the public address system. (Source: The Nation)


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Yingluck gives it another try

Posted by hasekamp on 6 January 2014 at 17:34 PM
Caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra is pushing for a new dialogue with the anti-government protest movement ahead of its plan to "shut down" Bangkok next Monday. Ms Yingluck has asked the military to act as a mediator between the government and the People's Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) ahead of the shutdown plan, a government source said. PDRC secretary-general Suthep Thaugsuban met several top military figures on Saturday to discuss how to end the crisis. No progress resulted from the talks as Mr Suthep reiterated his demands for an interim government to push for national reforms, the source said. Ms Yingluck yesterday repeated her calls for the public to vote. In a message posted on her Facebook page yesterday, Ms Yingluck said while elections cannot solve problems overnight, they can ease the crisis along with reforms and empowerment of local administrations. "If you don't want the government to return, you can fight through an election," she said. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Another protest tomorrow

Posted by hasekamp on 6 January 2014 at 17:30 PM
The People's Democratic Reform Committee (Sutheps friends) has announced the route for another warm-up protest march on Tuesday, this time from Ratchadamnoen, across the river to Thon Buri and back. PDRC secretary-general Suthep Thaugsuban plans to lead a march of protesters, departing from the Democracy Momument at 8.30am Tuesday, to the Thon Buri side of the Chao Phraya river and then return to the rally site. The total walking distance is about 9.5 kilometres, PDRC spokesman Akanat Promphan said. The protesters will walk via Ratchadamnoen Klang Avenue to Sanam Luang (the Royal Field), Somdet Phra Pin Klao Bridge, Arun Amarin intersection, Pata department store, Charan Sanitwong Road, Sirindhorn intersection, Krung Thon (Sang-hee) Bridge, Suan Sunandha Rajabhat University and Saint Gabriel's College on Samsen Road, Bang Lamphu, Phraya Suren Road, Din So Road. The PDRC has said its followers will shutdown Bangkok by blocking all major intersection in the capital from Jan 13. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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More soldiers wanted on shutdown-day

Posted by hasekamp on 6 January 2014 at 17:27 PM
The Centre for the Administration of Peace and Order (Capo) has asked the military to deploy 20 more companies to back police officers in dealing with the attempted shutdown of Bangkok by the People's Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) on Jan 13, an army source said. The request would increase the number of military personnel who will be mobilised in the capital next Monday to 40 military companies, the source said on Monday. Internal Security Operations Command (Isoc) spokesman Banphot Phunphian earlier said at least 20,000 policemen would be involved in a joint police-military operation to prevent and handle any incidents on the Jan 13 anti-government rally. The source said army chief Prayuth Chan-ocha had ordered all soldiers taking part in the operation not to carry weapons. They would be armed with shields and batons only. Meanwhile, Lt Gen Surachet Chaiwong, deputy chief of staff, on Monday afternoon paid an inspection visit on behalf of Gen Prayuth to four companies of soldiers who began to help police maintain peace during the protracted protest and guard Government House on Saturday. He said Gen Prayuth and other high-level army officers were concerned about the safety of their men and stressed that they must adhere to discipline as core of the operation and perform their duties with caution to avoid confronting the protesters. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Shutdown illegal

Posted by hasekamp on 4 January 2014 at 13:36 PM
The planned “Bangkok shutdown” on Jan 13 by the People's Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) is illegal and people should not support it, Caretaker Deputy Prime Minister Surapong Towichakchaikul said on Saturday. Speaking in an address televised by the Thai Television Pool of Thailand, the deputy premier said the planned Bangkok shutdown by anti-government protest leader Suthep Thugsuban is a critical violation of the law and that it would create difficulties to people and business operators in the capital. The government had directed all state agencies to come up with back-up plans for the possible capital shutdown, he added. Mr Surapong, also head of the Police Centre for the Administration of peace and Order (Capo), insisted that legal actions will be taken against all PDRC co-leaders who violated the law. It is necessary for the government to implement the needed measures to ensure peace and order in Bangkok and its vicinity during the PDRC protests, he said. He urged people not to support the PDRC rallies as they had created severe damage to the country. Mr Surapong also called on people to turn out to exercise their voting rights on the planned Feb 2 general election in order to bring about peace to the country and to allow the country to move forward under democratic system. (Source: The BVnagkok Post


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Suthep plans as announced on January 1

Posted by hasekamp on 4 January 2014 at 13:11 PM
THE ANTI-GOVERNMENT People's Democratic Reform Committee last night announced details of its plan to lay siege to Bangkok from January 13. PDRC leader Suthep Thaugsuban said the siege could last for a month, or until the caretaker government of Yingluck Shinawatra resigns so political reform is possible. He said that from Sunday, daily marches will be held so PDRC members can further promote the siege. He added that from today, the PDRC would be accepting suggestions from local Bangkok communities on how they could contribute to the siege. He also cited PDRC supporters attached to Chulalongkorn University, who say they may set up a stage at Pathum Wan intersection and businessmen who will do the same on Silom Road. PDRC supporters may also gather outside the homes of key government figures, essentially keeping them captive in order to limit their activities, Suthep said. He had earlier pressured police chiefs to look into the widely distributed video clips of so-called "men in black" apparently firing projectiles at protesters from a building inside the Labour Ministry compound during a skirmish at the Thai-Japanese stadium on December 26. The protesters were trying to disrupt candidacy registration. Suthep has given Bangkok police chief Pol Lt-General Camronvit Toopkrajank until Tuesday to identify these "men in black" and seek their arrest. He also named national police chief Pol General Adul Saengsingkaew as being responsible for the presence of men dressed in anti-riot gear at the Labour Ministry. In related news, the possibility of a February 2 general election being held still looks bleak, with legal complications disrupting registration procedures. MP candidates were unable to register at 24 constituencies in five southern provinces on the final day of registration yesterday. But nobody showed up in 28 constituencies in eight provinces, the EC said. The Pheu Thai Party is pressuring the Election Commission (EC) to extend candidacy registration and accept the legitimacy of MP candidates who registered at police stations. (Source: The Nation)


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Reds shirts want Bangkok open

Posted by hasekamp on 4 January 2014 at 13:06 PM
Red shirt leader Jatuporn Promphan on Thursday announced a new campaign to keep Bangkok open on January 13 to counter the campaign by the anti-government protesters to shut down the capital. Jatuporn said at the press conference that the time had come for people, red shirt protesters among them, to stand up and fight against what he called the elite's network, which planned to mobilise southerners to oust the elected government. "We are ready. If we lose democracy, we don't know what will happen. This month is the month of 'make or break'. Please wait for a signal from us. We will fight under peaceful principles," he said. He also asked other provinces to stage overture rallies starting from January 5, the same date as antigovernment protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban has called for an overture before laying siege to Bangkok on January 13. (Source: The Nation)


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Suthep gives details on closing Bangkok

Posted by hasekamp on 4 January 2014 at 13:03 PM
Protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban on Thursday detailed the plan on January 13 when the anti-government protesters will shut down the capital to put pressure on Yingluck government. Suthep, secretary general (NOTE: this is the title the communists usually use for their leaders) of the People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC), explained the plan to prevent further mudslinging on the protesters by the government and red shirts supporters. He called the mass rally on January 13 the civil disobedience to show to the world community of Yingluck government’s failure to administer the country and that Thai people will no longer resist its corruptions and abuse of power. "I do not want Thailand to become a failed state. Our mass rally will on the contrary demonstrate that Yingluck government which is under Thaksin Regime corrupted and did nothing to serve people and the country," he said to the cheering crowds. Yingluck government and her cabinet members had resisted demands by millions of people who joined the mass rallies held on December 9 and 22 last year. He said that on that day, people will take to the streets and they are free to set up their own stage at intersections to air their criticism on the Yingluck government. Former and present students of Chulalongkorn University will be responsible for stage at Pathumwan intersection, while businessmen of Silom to set up stage at Suan Lumpini Park and alumni of National Institute of Development Administration to be responsible for stage at Asoke. Those of Kasetsart University will set up stage at Lardprao intersection while former Thammasat University Seri Wongmontha, stars and artists to be speakers at stage at Ratchaprasong. "All roads will be taken by people and become walking streets as people will show their power and their rejection of the Yingluck government and Thaksin Regime." Reiterating that the protesters will cut electrity and tap water of government offices, Suthep said however the measures will not be done on people’s houses. All public transportations such as buses, skytrains, subways and airplanes will not be affected and all roads will have a spare lane for ambulances and other emergency matters. He said govrnment vehicles however will not be allowed to use the spare lane. He added television stations that allowed the government side to air the lies against the protesters should find the way to improve their broadcast. "Many TV stations hosted programmes for academicians who supported the government to air their biased opinions against the protests. If they want to be neutral, the academicians from our side should be allowed to join the programme also," Suthep said. (Source: The Nation).


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Bangkok to be shut down by Suthep

Posted by hasekamp on 4 January 2014 at 12:56 PM
In his great wisdom Mr. Suthep has decided to "shut down Bangkok" on January 13, 2014. He probably thinks this is good for the country. You will read more about this elsewhere on this page, but here are comments in the social media:

Like many times before, after Suthep Thaugsuban, the People's Democratic Reform Committee secretary-general, announced the next mass rally, social media users began campaigns to support their stances - support, oppose, or else, you could say. On Suthep Thaugsuban's Facebook page, the post on the appointment of January 13 as "Bangkok Shutdown day" drew over 12,000 comments, both for and against. People who disagree with the mass rally started a campaign, "Turn on headlights against the crisis. Oppose Bangkok shutdown."
On December 28, a page "Enough! Stop the protest that instigates conditions leading to violence" was set up by YaBasta Thailand group. The page posted pictures from the group's rally and candle lighting activity at Bangkok Art and Culture Centre on December 27 and invited people to gather again yesterday. It also campaigned for people to "open up and go voting".
Meanwhile, the Assembly for the Defence of Democracy has not reacted to Suthep's announcement for a new mass rally. It continues to campaign for the people to go to vote on February 2.
On the other side, the "V for Thailand" Facebook page has told supporters to be careful while taking photos. It asked protesters to avoid taking photos of guards to protect them from being targets of attacks later. Meanwhile, they may take photos that can be used as evidence in legal cases. V for Thailand asked protesters to support drones flown by the media.
Thai Tribune, meanwhile, said simply: "Shut down Bangkok. D-Day January 13 and stay on."
WRN, a Thai language group on Facebook, said in a campaign pic: "Don't think that it is still fine if one individual is missing, please think that we will win only if you join."
Meanwhile, The Nation asked social media users if they agree or disagree with Suthep's call to shut down Bangkok. Most respondents are pro (sometimes reluctantly). (Source: The Nation)

Well, every country gets the leaders it deserves. And this seems to be what many Bangkokians want. They (and the visitors of Bangkok) will bet an occupied city. Meanwhile several airlines (like Singapore Airlines) have strongly reduced their flights to Bangkok around January 13.


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