Pattaya Daily News

14 April 2010 :: 11:04:26 am 18153

Protests Postponed As Songkran Celebrations Commence

Key Red Shirt leaders announced that they would postpone Wednesday's planned protest whilst Songkran celebrations kicked off around the streets of Bangkok on Tuesday. This comes ahead of fresh claims by the government that the masked ‘terrorists’ responsible for Saturdays violent clashes in which 21 people lost their lives would be apprehended within two weeks.
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Bangkok, the 14th of April 2010 [Pattaya Daily News]: Red Shirt leader Natthawut Saikua informed the press from the Ratchaprasong rally site, Bangkok’s prime business district, that the Red movement would continue to remain a strong presence throughout the city but that Wednesday protests have been postponed whilst Songkran celebrations were in progress. Mr. Saikua stated that, despite Saturday’s losses the Red Shirts would not sit still, but continue their march for the immediate dissolution of the unconstitutional Abhisit led government, revealing that the Elections Commissions findings, in relation to alleged breaches of the constitution made by the Democrat Party, are a positive sign for their cause, however; the process to dissolve the party in this manner is overly time consuming, especially if the Democrats decide to appeal the verdict, which they are expected to.

Emergency services have revealed that a total of 21 people were killed in Saturday’s violent clash whilst a further 863 were injured. Autopsies on 11 of the deceased revealed the cause of death to be the result of long range rubber bullet shots to the head and chest, those of which had been issued to the Thai army. Evidence suggests that the masked gunmen, who are known to have been armed with M79 grenade launchers, M67 hand grenades and machine guns including AK47 and M16 assault rifles, may have been disgruntled ex-army or armed services personnel.

Deputy Thai Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban released a statement on Tuesday afternoon maintaining that the masked gunmen responsible for the large majority of Saturdays violent conflicts are close to apprehension, controversially stating that the alleged ‘terrorists’ “have close connections with UDD leaders.” Mr. Thaugsuban revealed that a special taskforce, setup to identify and apprehend the armed shooters, possessed photographs, sent by the media, identifying the masked gunmen. Warrants are currently being issued for their arrest as it is “impossible to let them walk freely in the country,” stated the deputy PM.

Saturday’s violence along with the continued persistence of the Red Shirts in maintaining their presence in the capital has caused a rapid drop in tourist number for the usually popular Songkran (Thai New Year) festival. Khao San Road Business Association president Surat Vongchansilp stated that guesthouse and hotel reservations had dropped significantly as a result of the political chaos, revealing that roughly 30 percent of the expected reservations have actually eventuated.

Khao San road is a popular tourist destination in Bangkok known as an international hub for the large number of backpackers that pass through the Kingdom. Although official Songkran celebrations were cancelled following Saturdays riots, Khao San road residence and the remaining tourists continued to stage their own peaceful water fight for the festival, which commenced yesterday and runs officially until the 15th, however; some parts of the country continue to celebrate the event up until the 20th.

Reporter : John Weston   Photo : Internet   Category : Politics News

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Hugh Jorgan

pete

luke

Hugh Jorgan

Dave Angel

Had enough of violence.

kritthira