The Nation


Closing Down Bangkok

Protest leader Suthep details January 13 strategy

Protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban on Thursday detailed the plans for January 13 when anti-government protesters have said they will shut down the capital to put pressure on the Yingluck Shinawatra government.

Suthep, secretary general of the People's Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC), took the stage at Rajadamnoen on Thursday night to explain the plan with the aim of preventing further mudslinging by the government and red shirts supporters.

He described the mass rally on January 13 as "civil disobedience to show to the world [the] Yingluck government's failure to administer the country and underline that Thai people will no longer tolerate its corruption and abuse of power".

"I do not want Thailand to become a failed state. Our mass rally will on the contrary demonstrate that the Yingluck government, which is under the 'Thaksin Regime', is corrupt and has done nothing to serve people and the country," he told the cheering crowds.

Yingluck and her cabinet members had resisted the demands of the millions of people who joined the mass rallies held on December 9 and 22 last year.

He said that on January 13 people will take to the streets and are free to set up their own stages at intersections to air their criticisms of the Yingluck government.

Former and present students of Chulalongkorn University will be responsible for the stage at the Pathumwan intersection, while businessmen in the Silom area will set up the stage at Lumpini Park and alumni of the National Institute of Development Administration will be responsible for the stage at Asoke.

Protesters from Kasetsart University will set up a stage at the Lat Phrao intersection while Thammasat University alumnus Seri Wongmontha, stars and artists will be the speakers at the Ratchaprasong stage.

"All roads will be taken by people and become walking streets, as the people will show their power and their rejection of the Yingluck government and Thaksin Regime."

Reiterating that the protesters will cut electricity and tap water at government offices, Suthep insisted that such measures would not affect private housing. Public transportation such as bus, Skytrain, subway and airline services would not be affected and all roads will have a spare lane for ambulances and other emergency vehicles. Government vehicles, however, will not be allowed to use the spare lane.

He added television stations that allowed the government side to air lies about the protesters should find the way to improve their broadcasts.

"Many TV stations host programmes for academics who support the government to air their biased opinions against the protests. If they want to be neutral, the academics from our side should be allowed to join the programme also," Suthep said.

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