Leading a huge rally, PDRC chief takes oath in front of past kings, insists that Parliament will remain shut until reforms are carried out
The leader of the anti-government People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC), Suthep Thaugsuban, led a big demonstration yesterday and vowed in front of the statues of King Chulalongkorn and King Prajadhipok to overthrow the so-called Thaksin regime and push for national reform.
Bangkok streets along the route from Lumpini Park were jammed with tens of thousands of PDRC protesters yesterday, as Suthep led a massive march from the park to the equestrian statue of King Chulalongkorn at the Royal Plaza and the statue of King Prajadhipok at Parliament.
Parallel rallies were also organised yesterday in many other provinces, mostly in the South. These included Songkhla, Phuket, Phatthalung, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Surat Thani, Krabi, Yala, Phang-nga and Buri Ram.
Nine types of fruits and deserts were offered to the statue of King Chulalongkorn, as Suthep made a vow, saying: “No matter how hard [it will be], the great mass of the people vow to put all efforts to free the country from [the yoke] of the Thaksin regime. We shall reform [the country] with the hands of the Thai people, not through the hands of politicians or political parties any longer and we will do everything while adhering to the principle of non-violence… May we ask for the reserved power of the King to protect the great mass of the Thai people and enable us to win. Victory shall be with the people.”
Later, in front of the statue of King Prajadhipok, Suthep presented pink roses and trays of offerings and led the demonstrators to observe silence for five minutes. Suthep vowed to make good the wish of King Prajadhipok who stated when granting Thailand’s first constitution eight decades ago that he bestowed the sovereign power to all citizens and not to any group of people in particular. Suthep said he would make sure that Parliament remains shut until reforms are carried out.
The protest’s march from Lumpini Park began with the paying of respects to the statue of yet another past king, King Vajiravudh, at the park. The procession was led by a marching band of musicians with Suthep, with his wife Srisakul Promphan walking alongside. The areas around Lumpini Park and BTS Saladaeng Skytrain station and MRT subway’s Lumpini Station were congested and full of PDRC supporters yesterday morning.
Two explosions occurred near the Royal Plaza, damaging two vehicles, but no one was injured and it didn’t lead to a change of route by the PDRC.
In a related development, leaders of the Students and People Network for Reforming Thailand (NRT), an alliance of the PDRC, held its own ceremony at Government House to thwart black magic aimed at them. Three Buddha statues were placed at the Thai Khu Fah Building inside Government House and a brand new Thai national flag was raised, replacing the old one. Two companies of police were deployed to ensure security as the ceremony took place and there was no confrontation.
Suriyand Thongnuiad, a leader of the group, said the objective of the ceremony and the placing of three Buddha statues was meant to destroy the black magic against them by the caretaker government of Yingluck Shinawatra and to defeat the government, which is akin to evil.
In a related development, a spokesman of the ruling Pheu Thai Party, Anusorn Iamsaard, warned that the next seven days could be dangerous and accused the PDRC of preparing for a violent clash in order to set the stage for a military coup.