Anti-Thaksin protesters abused
Police yesterday persuaded a group of 15 anti-Thaksin protesters to disperse just before the caretaker prime minister arrived at Chiang Mai air base.
Thaksin supporters hold a banner reading ‘Poor people ... want Thaksin’ while, below, an anti-Thaksin group shows a banner reading ‘Thaksin cheats the whole nation’. The groups clashed briefly when caretaker Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra was about to
The police intervened after 200 Thaksin supporters started verbal attacks against his opponents. Both supporters and opponents were rallying in front of the air base.
Police managed to keep the situation under control and the prime minister was welcomed by a cheering crowd of supporters.
Anti-Thaksin campaigner Chalermphol Samphet said his group had been harassed by the unruly crowd of Thaksin's supporters.
"The rally against Thaksin was peaceful and their attempts to intimidate it should not have happened," he said.
Chalermphol said his group would monitor Thaksin's trip to determine whether he squandered public funds or mobilised authorities to sway votes.
Thaksin supporter Amnuay Sukfon, said he had joined the welcoming committee because he wanted the prime minister to remain in office.
"Thaksin should continue to fight and the truth will come out eventually," he said.
The PM, meanwhile, vowed to cancel his weekly radio speech after a last broadcast this Saturday.
"My final radio speech will be on air this week and then I will stop in order to comply with the royal decree for the new election," Thaksin said, referring to electoral rules on air time, which will take effect on August 24.
He spoke after landing in the northern province to start an inspection tour of the region.
The prime minister began his trip by paying respects to his ancestors at a temple in San Kamphaeng district.
He then had lunch at a popular eatery that serves khao soy curry noodle soup in Chiang Mai town.
In the afternoon, he flew by helicopter to Om Koi district to inspect a self-sufficient agricultural project. Thaksin told reporters he would seek Cabinet approval for a Bt280 million project to drain the Ping River in seven spots, plus Bt90 million to expropriate land.
Thaksin said that to prevent floods, the Provincial Police Region 5 may have to be removed and the police dormitory rebuilt further away from Ping River.
He also instructed the Agriculture Ministry to survey and issue a debt moratorium to hill-tribe people first - and then farmers in Chiang Mai's Om Koi district. He said the government had approved Sor Por Kor land title deeds for 72 families out of 152 who had requested them.
Elsewhere, a police spokes-man in Tak's Mae Sot district said the local police station had been instructed to deploy anti-riot police as the area is a stronghold of the Democrat Party.