Suthep leads 6km march, calls on more to join 'final battle'
May 20, 2014 00:00
By The Nation
People's Democratic Reform Committee chief Suthep Thaugsuban yesterday led a rally calling on the public to join the PDRC mega-protest this weekend in a last-ditch attempt to unseat the caretaker government.
Suthep has vowed to end the PDRC’s six-month protest and surrender to police to face charges of sedition and murder if the group cannot oust the government by Monday.
Suthep and his followers spent more than four hours walking over 6 kilometres from Makkhawan Rangsan bridge to Tanao Road, Charoenkrung intersection, Wang Burapa, Tha Thien, Pak Khlong talad, Pahurat, Wat Suthat and Dinso Road.
Along the route, the group was warmly greeted by supporters, especially at the flower market at Pak Khlong Talad. Supporters blew whistles, waved Thai flags and donated money to fund the rally.
Suthep invited a foreign journalist to have lunch with his group outside Suankularb Wittayalai School.
When the PDRC passed Wat Suthat, management of the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration led by deputy Bangkok Governor Amorn Kitchawengkul, embraced Suthep.
At Phan Fa Lilat bridge, Suthep, accompanied by bodyguards, left the rally in a sedan at around 3pm.
Meanwhile, the pro-government United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD), which is led by Jatuporn Promphan, held a merit-making ceremony at Aksa Road just outside Bangkok to mark the fourth anniversary of the deadly crackdown on red shirts during the 2010 riots.
Jatuporn demanded that Suthep name the people who would exercise extra-constitutional power and order top government officials to join the PDRC movement.
He said the PDRC’s threat to cut basic infrastructure – water, electricity and telephone lines – was an attempt to instigate riots in a bid to provoke a military coup.
The government has prepared a contingency plan and vowed to strictly enforce the law.
Jatuporn said he did not believe Suthep would surrender to police and would not receive the same level of public support that he got earlier.
He said the UDD would mobilise many people in a show of force against the PDRC masses but they would not confront them. Red-shirt hardliner Kwanchai Praipana also vowed to mobilise at least 10,000 protesters to join the UDD at Aksa Road on Friday.
“We will not go there to fight. We will bring our ideology to show our unity,’’ he said.
Police urged motorists to avoid using 10 roads this weekend – Rajdamnoen Nok Avenue, Rajdamnoen Klang Avenue, Luke Luang Road, Krung Kasem Road, Chakkra-patipong Road, Phitsanulok Road and Chaeng Wattana Road from the Thailand Post building at Government Complex. Aksa Road is closed.