April 25, 2013 00:00 By Chanikarn Phumhiran,
Group warns it will try to block their salaries as protest enters third day
Upset that the Constitutional Court judges have been ignoring demands for them to quit, the red shirts yesterday threatened to launch an impeachment campaign and have the Budget Bureau stop paying their salaries.
Pongpisit Kongsena, a red-shirt leader who led a protest, said his group would lodge a complaint with the Budget Bureau to stop paying the salaries of the nine Constitutional Court judges and also solicit 20,000 signatures from the public to file an impeachment complaint with National Anti-Corruption Commission.
The red shirts vowed to continue protesting to pressure the judges to quit or have them find another way out. Yesterday was the third day of the protest.
“The judges have been ignoring our demand for them to stop working as they think this is only a symbolic protest. Hence we are going to come up with a strategy to force them to respond to our call,” Pongpisit said.
The red-shirt leaders took turns in making statements on the stage alternating with musical performances to entertain the protesters gathered outside the Constitutional Court.
Deputy Bangkok Police chief Pol Maj-General Parinya Chansuriya said the protesters were not there in large numbers and that police was at hand to maintain security. He added that hundreds of other police officers were ready to step in if the group widened the rally.
Parinya went on to say that the nine judges targeted had not sought security cover yet.
The red shirts yesterday briefly clashed with security officials manning the court when they tried to enter the compound. Nobody was injured.
Somwang Assarasi, deputy leader of the Democratic Alliance against Dictatorship, said the red shirts had the right to seek justice because they believed the court abused its power and meddled in the legislative branch’s affairs.
“The Constitutional Court is the problem and is an obstacle that we must eradicate on our path to democracy. We have put up with them long enough and today the legislature is ready to fight against them. The court fears losing power so it has accepted the petition related to the amendment of Article 68,” Somwang said.
He went on to argue that the court had ruled the 2010 uprising was not an act of terrorism but a riot, hence red-shirt leader Korkaew Pikulthong is a not a terrorist.
Meanwhile, a red-shirt representative, Thanachai Sihin, submitted a letter to court officials detailing what they think are “irregularities” committed by the court judges, for instance the ruling on Samak Sundaravej’s cooking programme and the court’s decision on Article 68 and accepting to rule on amendment of the charter’s Article 291.
Constitution Court judge Jaran Pukditanakul said he had yet to seek police protection. He said court officials would consider and decide whether to take action against the protestors for alleged intimidation of the court.
“The court only carries a pen and does not have more power than that. I do not know what is wrong with our country. It is as if boxers are battling referees,” he said.
Opposition Democrat Party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva has given a moral support to the Constitutional Court judges, urging them not to be perturbed by the protest.
He said if judges succumbed to the pressure, the country will lose its principles.
Constitutional Court president Wasan Soypisuth said yesterday that his office had recorded the rally and would file a lawsuit against the protesters for contempt of court.