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Seeking 'return to morality' via a mass people's movement

File photo : Witthaya

File photo : Witthaya

The Nation's Hataikarn Treesuwan spoke recently to the anti-government People's Democratic Reform Committee core leader, Witthaya Kaewparadai, with the PDRC calling for a mass turnout of people to occupy and shut down Bangkok for a few days after New Year's to fight against the "Thaksin regime".

Witthaya, who was a student activist during the October 1976 massacre in Bangkok, talked about how the PDRC would end the game through a people’s movement, bringing about "the return to morality".

Q :COULD YOU EXPLAIN THE MAIN SECTIONS OF SOCIETY BEHIND THE PDRC'S PROTESTS?

The protesters cover three groups. Initially, Democrat Party supporters - with an average age of 50 - and also fans of the "Reveal the Truth" rallies held by the Democrats, decided to join the Samsen rally site before moving to the Rajdamnoen site. Then members of the Blue Sky Channel's audience followed, joining us as the second group. Now we have a "great mass of people" from several groups here [Rajdamnoen), including intelligentsia, students, officials, the middle class and businessmen.

I cannot tell you which is the largest group of PDRC protesters. I think people have simultaneously raised their awareness to fight against the "Thaksin [Shinawatra] regime", after the government tried to pass the blanket amnesty bill.



Q : NOW THE PROTESTERS APPEAR TO BE ONE STEP AHEAD OF THE PDRC LEADERS. HOW CAN YOU HANDLE THEM, ESPECIALLY THE HARDCORE GROUP?

Yes, that is correct. We first thought that we would end the game when the House [of Representatives] was dissolved, but the protesters refused this and put pressure on caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra to resign. Now they want political reform to take place before the next election. So if we were to contest the election, we would be abandoned immediately. Actually, we need to achieve a perfect balance.



Q : DO YOU STILL BELIEVE IN THE "TALE OF TWO DEMOCRACIES" THEORY, PROPOSED BY ACADEMIC-TURNED-POLITICIAN ANEK LAOTHAMATAS, SAYING THAT RURAL PEOPLE HAVE THE NUMBERS TO DECIDE WHICH GOVERNMENT SHOULD BE SET UP, BUT THAT URBAN PEOPLE REJECT AND OVERTURN THAT CHOICE?

I don't think we can use that theory to explain "the great mass of people". Nowadays, I would like to call the people's movement "the return to morality". Many people have come out on to the streets to oust the "Thaksin regime" because they cannot stand in the middle between good and evil. They had to choose one side, and they chose the best.

Q : YOU MEAN PDRC SECRETARY GENERAL SUTHEP THAUGSUBAN IS A SYMBOL OF MORALITY, RIGHT?

I don't think so. Suthep has just become a symbol of the fight for reform in Thailand. He is very serious and dedicated about this fight. He can call for a great number of people to join the rallies, even if they have no idea about the outcome of the reform cause. I think they just hope that Thailand would be better off if the Shinawatra family were not here.

Q : IS IT POSSIBLE TO BRING DOWN THE "TYRANNY OF THE MAJORITY" AND MOVE TO A "DICTATORSHIP OF THE MINORITY"?

Absolutely not! Former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra always claims that he has 15 million people who voted for his party. However, he has never decided for 15 million people, and has settled matters himself. The tyranny of the majority has shifted to the tyranny of one person. Why do you think 5.8 million people in Bangkok showed up on the streets last Sunday [December 22, in an effort] to force out the Thaksin regime? I don't think Yingluck can walk as a free person now.



Q : DO YOU NEED THE MILITARY'S SUPPORT TO HELP THE PDRC REACH ITS ULTIMATE GOAL?

I honestly don't think the PDRC needs a coup. We just want to see that the military can oust this evil government. The military should show its stance by taking the people's side. This is no time to say it must remain neutral.

Thais are now the rebels, while soldiers are still proud to just survive.

Q : WHERE WILL YOU GO WHEN THE FIGHT IS OVER?

I probably won't end up in jail or become a fugitive. My sense tells me that the people will win.


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