January 10, 2014 00:00 By Hataikarn Treesuwan
The main rally stage on Rajdamnoen Avenue will be used as a model for the seven new protest sites across Bangkok for the shutdown on Monday, People's Democratic Reform Committee (PRDC) core leader Buddhipongse Punnakanta said.
He added that PDRC secretary-general Suthep Thaugsuban had called a meeting on Wednesday with the group’s committee to work out how the stages – at Government Complex on Chaeng Wattana Road, Ladprao intersection, Victory Monument, Pathum Wan intersection, Lumpini Park, Asok intersection and the Ratchaprasong intersection – would be set up.
“We spent a lot of time discussing the Bangkok shutdown plans, including safety, traffic, food and drink as well as camping areas. We will allocate PDRC leaders and staff to these sites to keep things under control,” he said.
The rally stage at Pathum Wan intersection will be the main stage controlled by PDRC core leader Satit Wongnongtaey once the one on Rajdamnoen Avenue is dismantled on Monday morning. According to Suthep, the BlueSky TV channel will cover the protest.
Meanwhile, PDRC spokesman Akanat Promphan said that protesters from the provinces have been asked to go and wait at the rally site of their choice and that PDRC protesters in Bangkok would march to the relevant site on Monday morning.
PDRC core leader Witthaya Kaewparadai said the worst-case scenario is if the police decide to step in and disperse protesters. He said it was possible that the number of protesters might drop on the second day of the shutdown.
“We want to end the game as soon as we can, but we cannot guess what Bangkok residents’ emotions will be like. How long their patience will last. Seven days of paralysing Bangkok traffic should be enough, but this is not a festival with an end date – it is a struggle for the nation,” he said.
Takerng Somsup, director of the BlueSky Channel, said the Pathum Wan intersection was the best location for his team as there were buildings nearby that could be used as a rest area, there was space for a kitchen to be set up and it was in a central location.
The occupation of Victory Monument might be risky as it was the main support base for the government, which is why core PDRC leaders Thaworn Senneam and Somsak Kosaisuk had been chosen to lead this site, Thaworn said. He added that the PDRC was concerned about this site because of three reasons – it was close to the Din Daeng flats, was a central station for transport vans and there were too many tall buildings and the Skytrain station, which would make it difficult to maintain security.
Somsak said the PDRC had set up seven security teams of 2,000 each to keep a close eye on the protests and ensure that no third party tries to disrupt the peace. The PDRC will also have a team of 200 guards on motorcycles.
The People’s Army to Overthrow the Thaksin Regime and the Students and People’s Network for Thailand’s Reform (STR) have said they will not be joining the PDRC rallies. Sources say that STR is likely to set up its own stage at Ratchathewi intersection, while the People’s Army will move from Government House to the foot of Rama VIII Bridge. The two groups will later join the PDRC mission to close ministries.