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Rival groups on the move upcountry

On the eve of the Bangkok Shutdown, supporters of the anti-government People's Democratic Reform Committee and pro-government red shirts poured onto the streets yesterday to promote their causes in many provinces.

The PDRC is pushing for reform of the country before the next general election. If it gets its way, the poll will not take place on February 2 as scheduled.

The red shirts are trying to drum up support for the February 2 ballot by marching through provinces such as Samut Prakan and Pathum Thani.

But in Nakhon Ratchasima, about 80 PDRC backers briefly blocked a road in front of the luxury vacation home of Tarit Pengdith, director-general of the Department of Special Investigation. They accused Tarit of catering to political favourites and a corrupt government, but he was not there.

After demonstrating for about 20 minutes, they joined a stream of PDRC supporters from several provinces heading to Bangkok to help out with the Bangkok Shutdown activities.

From Surat Thani, Si Sa Ket and Roi Et, PDRC supporters were seen jumping on Bangkok-bound buses. About 500 Phitsanulok people boarded the train to the capital. They are preparing to help the PDRC pile up pressure on the caretaker government by staging the Bangkok Shutdown.

However, red shirts in Ayutthaya and Nonthaburi gathered and vowed to prevent the Shutdown.

In Udon Thani, red-shirt leader Kwanchai Sarakham pledged to protect Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra if violence breaks out in the capital.

"Supporters of the government from 20 northeastern provinces will gather here in Udon Thani where Yingluck is definitely welcome," he said. In the evening, he joined a candlelit vigil to promote peace, saying about 500 red shirts on motorcycles will hit Udon Thani roads today to campaign against a coup.


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