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Reconciliation activities begin in the Northeast

Leaders of different political groups and their followers, plus government, police and military officials joined activities held by the National Council for Peace and Order in northeastern provinces yesterday to try to bridge the division - "dissolve political colours" and restore unity among Thais.

In Loei, the provincial governor and police chief joined Maj-General Worathat Supattananont, who is the Loei provincial army commander, to preside over the opening of a project to bring about national reconciliation.

Worathat said the idea to bring about unity and bridge division would start from nurturing love right from people's families. The provincial senior monk was invited to preach to disseminate Dharma as Buddhism was a guiding light for participants.

"Ten years ago Thais were happy and we are known as the Land of Smiles but now foreigners say our smiles have disappeared. It is time we do soul-searching to find out why," he said.

In Nakhon Ratchasima, leaders of the People's Democratic Reform Committee and the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship were invited by the Second Army Region to join the reconciliation activities.

Both groups had a coffee and talked in an amicable atmosphere. They also came to pay respect and take an oath not to create further conflicts in front of the monument of Thao Suranaree, which is revered by Korat people.

In Si Sa Ket, NCPO representatives held a meeting to get local leaders including kamnan and village heads to help bring about reconciliation.

In Khon Kaen, local leaders, teachers and students attended a fair held by the NCPO at the 23rd Military Circle, Sri Patcharin Camp. They sang songs celebrating the high institutions, danced and receive free medical care, haircuts, food and drinks.

The locals said they felt more secure with the presence of soldiers as a few days ago they saw a group of six men dressed similar to soldiers conducting searches in some houses. They were told by the NCPO yesterday that they must ask to see their ID cards to identify if such people are real soldiers.

The NCPO warned the public against people wearing clothes similar to military uniforms after rumours spread that men dressed like soldiers had robbed villagers.


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