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Election numbers to be drawn today

The windshield of a People

The windshield of a People

Faction of PDRC vows to return this morning to disrupt election process

THE ELECTION Commission has asked 34 political parties to come this morning for the drawing of election numbers despite some violence and an announcement by protesters to rally at the venue again.

After Suthep Thaugsuban, secretary-general of the anti-government People's Democratic Reform Committee, on Tuesday called for protesters who had surrounded the MP registration venue since Sunday night to withdraw, a defiant group from a PDRC faction besieged the Thai-Japanese Stadium again yesterday.

The protesters agreed to take a break in the afternoon but declared they would come back this morning.

Nititorn Lamlua, adviser to the Students and People's Network for Thailand Reform, broadcast from a truck stage that they would return to their protest site at Nang Lerng but would meet up at 6am at Government House then march to the stadium to block the drawing of numbers to be used to identify parties in the election.

The protesters earlier in the morning wrapped the Gymnasium 2 building with the same long national flag used to encircle Government House.

They tried to prevent officials of political parties and the Election Commission from entering the building to proceed with party-list candidate registration.

STR leader Utai Yodmanee said the STR wasn't there to obstruct the election but only to put on a show of force so that the authorities understood that the people wanted to see reform before an election.

Only five minutes before the STR arrived at the stadium, representatives from the Palang Thai Kreukhai Party entered it to register their party-list MP candidates and later found themselves locked inside.

The party is led by Protepran Torahnee, a former Matubhum Party MP.

A commotion broke out after Nititorn and Utai negotiated with Somsak Suriyamongkol, deputy secretary-general of the Election Commission, to let their representatives go inside Gymnasium 2 and Somsak agreed.

Puangtip Boonsanong, a member of the STR's legal team, was the only representative allowed inside, but due to a misunderstanding, protesters tried to follow him into the building. Nititorn then talked with Somsak again to defuse the situation.

At noon Somsak and other EC officers were allowed out of the stadium.

These protesters always clash with police but some STR demonstrators insisted that their activism was not hardcore.

Nongluck Panthong, a merchant from Samut Prakan, said the protesters were not violent but they were on the front line so it was easy to get into scuffles with police.

She said that at this event there have been many scraps with police but everyone who joined the protest was very nice. Everybody took care of each other.

Nongluck came from Phrapradaeng district, which was predominantly red shirt, and she had to sleep on the STR stage.

She said she could go back home every night but she decided to sleep at the protest site because the STR protest was different from others. This protest always suddenly moves. If you do not stay at the protest site you will lose touch with the rally when they march to other places.

Kornkanok Sukngam, a rubber farmer from Hat Yai, also said this protest was not hard core. She said she has camped out at the STR's Nang Lerng rally site since Friday and would stay with the protest until they win.

The reason why they were plugging for reform before an election was because nowadays politicians are corrupt, she added.




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