Red-shirt rally at Aksa Road just a rehearsal : organisers

national April 05, 2014 00:00

By Olan Lertrudtanadumrongkul

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The red shirts' rally will stay onsite, and there will not be marches anywhere, organisers say. Activities will include talks by leaders and "educational" exchanges of information and ideas.

The length of the rally has been set initially for three days, but the leaders will evaluate the situation after that. Factors to extend the rally would mainly depend on the number of people participating and the reaction of anti-government protesters.
This rally is regarded as a “rehearsal” to prepare the space, the stage, accommodation, food, toilets, security and live broadcasts, some of which has to be done in advance of a more ambitious campaign. Jatuporn Promphan, leader of the red-shirt United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD), has said there will be a bigger rally, which could be a prolonged one.

There are many reasons behind the selection of Aksa Road as the rally site. It is spacious, open, and far from the site held by the anti-government People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC). 
The reds’ rally in a Bangkok suburb aims to send a signal that the group is ready to rally in the capital at any time. Moreover, this beautiful road has no history of political rallies, and is a fresh site for the event.
Before this, Rajamangala Stadium was a choice for reds’ organisers, but there were a series of problems and chaos late last year because the venue is a closed location.
“If the rally on Aksa Road 
goes smoothly, we might consider this as the venue for the next rally, which might be prolonged,” a red-shirt leader said.
Red-shirt leaders estimate the number of demonstrators this time could reach 100,000, considering that five previous rallies in different regions drew crowds of about 30,000-40,000 people.
Transport of protesters this time will mainly be in cars and pickups, in the form of a caravan, unlike in buses as before. 
Meanwhile, the central and local red-shirt leaders have coordinated more. In doing this, rally leaders plan to fix flaws from previous rallies – they want broadcasts to demonstrate the large number of red shirts to the public.