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Thida rules out armed force or splitting up of Thailand

Red-shirt protesters climb over the entrance gate of the National Anti-Corruption Commission headquarters in Nonthaburi.

Red-shirt protesters climb over the entrance gate of the National Anti-Corruption Commission headquarters in Nonthaburi.

A pro-government red-shirt leader has rejected the formation of an armed force and any idea of separating Thailand to resolve the political conflict.

Thida Tavonseth, chairwoman of the UDD, United Front of Democracy against Dictatorship, said red-shirt protesters had only set up security forces to protect themselves from rivals led by the People's Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) secretary-general Suthep Thaugsuban.

She warned several red-shirt factions that have independently organised rallies to be careful in making verbal statements, so they avoid any activities that could damage the UDD as a whole.

She was apparently referring to an earlier statement by a red-shirt group, which threatened to separate the North and Northeast from the Kingdom.

Some banners announcing a desire to separate to be a 'Lanna nation' were put up in Phitsanulok on Wednesday, but pulled down a short time later.

Such banners were also erected in the northern province of Chiang Rai yesterday.

In Phitsanulok, a new set of banners was installed saying locals would not allow anyone to divide "the land of [King] Naresuan".

Nisit Sinthuprai, a key UDD leader, said red-shirt supporters in the Northeast would launch a rally at Thung Si Muang in Udon Thani province this weekend to stress the group's determination to protect democracy.

The People's Radio Media Group, another pro-government faction, publicly announced that it would strengthen its demonstration and pressure independent agencies.

Group spokesman Sornrak Malaithong said Vicha Mahakun, a member of the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC), would be targeted for arrest, and that the group would follow NACC members wherever they go after their office in Nonthaburi was sealed off.

Independent agencies must be reformed, he said, and the Election Commission would be the next target, followed by the removal of Civil Court judges.

Red-shirt protesters completely blocked the NACC main entrance with cement, and put up a stage and tents in front of the compound.

However, NACC chief Panthep Klanarongran said the commissioners felt no pressure and would continue working in straightforward way. NACC secretary-general Sansern Polchiak said the agency would not allow any closure but would begin talks to resolve the situation.






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