A leader of the anti-government People's Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) denied yesterday that the PDRC was trying to unconstitutionally overthrow the caretaker Yingluck Shinawatra administration.
The charge followed a declaration by PDRC secretary-general Suthep Thaugsuban that the movement had the sovereign status to seek a royal endorsement to install a new administration.
Thaworn Senneam, a PDRC leader, said yesterday Suthep was referring only to a situation where red-shirt supporters and the government might refuse to accept two Constitutional Court rulings.
These rulings would refer to the legality of Yingluck transferring Thawil Pliensri from the National Security Council (NSC) in 2011, and her possible indictment by the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) over alleged dereliction of her duty involving the controversial rice scheme.
Thaworn said the government and its supporters must accept scrutiny and possible punishment by the independent organisations under the Constitution.
He denied the allegation by Pheu Thai Party spokesman Promphong Nopparit that the PDRC was seeking to unlawfully overthrow the government. He said the Civil Court had ruled the PDRC was peacefully exercising its right under the Constitution to demonstrate and urged the Pheu Thai Party not to distort things.
Thaworn was asked by reporters if he was concerned about possible violent confrontations between the PDRC and the red-shirt members of the United Front for Democracy Against Dictatorship (UDD). He said the PDRC was not seeking violence and 2,000 PDRC guards would be deployed to ensure peace and non-confrontation with red shirts on the day the Constitutional Court was due to make its ruling.
He also denied that a man arrested by the UDD at its rally site during the weekend was a PDRC guard, adding that the person, identified as Surin Chaithong, probably merely carried a PDRC membership card and had the right to observe the red-shirt protest.
Thaworn was asked what would happen if trouble escalated and the Army intervened. He said [in such an event] there would be no reason to stop the Army from doing its duty if violence broke out repeatedly – although the PDRC was not calling for a military coup.
Meanwhile pro-government demonstration leaders yesterday cut short their intended three-day rally on Aksa Road and sent demonstrators back to their home provinces.
The rally was originally scheduled for three days, ending yesterday evening, but red-shirt (UDD) leader Jatuporn Promphan announced on stage the decision to call off the gathering.
“This is just a rehearsal for the next rally, the venue of which we will keep confidential,” he said, boasting that the next event would involve a massive number of supporters.
Jatuporn accepted a challenge by anti-government leader Suthep Thaugsuban to conduct a comparative count on the number of demonstrators for both factions.
Pheu Thai Party spokesperson Prompong Nopparit insisted that Suthep was violating Article 113 of the Criminal Code by inciting unlawful overthrow of the political system, and urged the chiefs of the Armed Forces to take a public stance on the matter.