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Red shirts block Abhisit from seminar

Democrat leader urges police chief to uphold law and order

The Opposition has demanded the Yingluck government strictly enforce the law after Democrat Party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva was blocked from joining a political seminar in Samut Prakan yesterday by more than 100 red shirts.

Abhisit was due to officially open a seminar organised by the party entitled "Assemblies join forces to design Thailand".

Before he could arrive, a rally of about 70 red shirts led by Chanu Chaiya, an executive at community radio 101.25, plus Wuthipong Kotthammakhun and Pathum Thani leader Sornrak Malaithong, was organised in front of the Taiwan Association of Thailand where the seminar was to be held.

They held placards insulting Abhisit, saying he should be expelled.

The former PM's car could not enter as the rally blocked the entrance to the association, forcing his driver to circle around three or four times to find other entrances. Abhisit decided to return to the Democrat Party headquarters, and then join a rally in Uthai Thani.

Bang Poo Police station and 200 anti-riot police kept security during the red shirt rally and there was no reports of clashes.

After the Samut Prakan road blockade, Abhisit said the party would have to discuss law enforcement and safety measures with the new National Police chief Pol General Adul Saengsingkaew.

Abhisit said he decided not to join the seminar as security officials believed the incident could turn violent. He said the red shirts had no right to block him from carrying out his duty.

"The party must talk to Gen Adul over how police can issue measures to keep law and order, so that we can have a democratic society and political parties can fully carry out activities. The Election Commission has not taken any action even though the party needs support from that agency,'' he said.

Abhisit dismissed Deputy Prime Minister Chalerm Yoobamrung's comments that the red shirts' action was normal political activity, saying instigated turmoil violated others' rights.

"It is not the case because they do not just express their opinions but are prone to commit violence. It is not fair because Democrat supporters have never created riots at any political function of the Pheu Thai Party or government,'' he said.

Democrat Nakhon Si Thammarat MP Thepthai Senpong accused the red shirts of violating the Constitution and accused the Pheu Thai Party of supporting the act as party members dismissed the offence as merely as an act of democratic colour.

He said if the government did not rein in the red shirts, and allowed them to intimidate the courts, commit constitutional offences and refused to enforce law, it would be impossible for the country to achieve reconciliation.

He accused the government of providing special privileges to Yoswarit Chuklom, a red shirt leader sent back to jail after the Criminal Court revoked his bail on Wednesday.


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