Reds rally in North and Northeast

national January 14, 2014 00:00

By The Nation

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Subdued protests in key centres as govt supporters oppose PDRC, coup

Opponents oF the People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) turned out in full force in most provinces yesterday where Pheu Thai members were elected as MPs three years ago. 
From Chiang Mai, to Angthong, to Khon Kaen, to Ayutthaya and more, a number of people gathered to condemn the PDRC decision to snub the general election that is scheduled to take place on February 2. 
Declaring their support for the poll, they also expressed strong opposition to the PDRC-led Bangkok Shutdown as well as any coup plot. 
Jatuporn Promphan, the red-shirt leader, led a march through Chiang Mai yesterday to drum up support for the February election and public disapproval of the PDRC. He accused the anti-government group of activities that damaged Thailand’s image and ruined its economy. 
Stepping up its Reform Before Election campaign, the PDRC yesterday launched its Shutdown with supporters occupying major intersections in the capital.
To counter the PDRC movement, various activities took place yesterday in many provinces considered political strongholds of the rival Pheu Thai Party and red shirts. 
In Angthong, over 400 supporters of the red-shirt United Front of Democracy against Dictatorship campaigned across the province in support of the election.
“We are calling on people to support the election in the democratic system, not the Bangkok Shutdown,” protest leader Noppadon Rueang-arun said. He added that he expected about 100,000 people to gather in support of the Bangkok Open Up in Ayutthaya last night. 
In Khon Kaen, red shirts marched across the town and held a rally in front of their provincial hall. Top red-shirt leader Natthawut Saikua was scheduled to join the rally there. 
In Si Sa Ket, more than 5,000 red shirts also carried out similar activities, and pamphlets handed out with anti-coup guidelines. 
Many supporters of the Yingluck Shinawatra-led government suspect that a coup may be in the making. 
The red shirts in Chiang Rai said they were ready to mobilise so as to thwart any coup plan. 
Not all opponents of the PDRC were red shirts, though. In Lamphun and Chon Buri, demonstrators wore white among crowds of red shirts. Many wearers of red and white say they support an election on February 2.
In recent days, pro-peace people have worn white and released white balloons to support the election and discourage any use of violence. 
In Lampang, more than 300 white-clad people showed up in front of the Kuang Nakhon Tower Clock in Lampang Municipality to show support for the election and opposition to a coup. They released white balloons too. 

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