Pattaya Daily News

09 April 2010 :: 16:04:58 pm 17839

Red Shirts Spread-Out as Gov’t Stifles Pro-Red Propaganda

Thailand’s anti-government red shirt movement announced that they would disperse their rallies across 10 further locations in Bangkok on Friday, whilst the Prime Minister has declared a state-of-emergency in an attempt to restore order.
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Bangkok, the 9th of April 2010 [Pattaya Daily News]: Influential Red Shirt leader Nuttawut Saikua revealed that the protesters will begin to move away from the central Phan Fa Bridge and Ratchaprasong intersection at approximately 9am on Friday. It is believed that the demonstrators will now spread out to up to 10 further undisclosed locations over the weekend, in an attempt to force Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva to dissolve parliament. The homes of Prime Minister Abhisit and Deputy Prime minister Suthep Thaugsuban are just two of the locations expected to experience mass gatherings over the coming days.

Prior to issuing a state-of-emergency, the government forced the closure of the Red Shirt People’s Station (PTV), stating that the pro-red shirt network was misinforming the Thai public as to the situation regarding the rallies, having the potential to instil mass-panic which is considered a national security risk. PTV was broadcasting live video feeds of the Red Shirt rallies, in which red shirts leaders claimed that the government were using force to disperse various rallies throughout Bangkok. “This totally contradicts the government’s objective, which is to restore peace and order. We don’t want to inflict any wound or cause the smallest damage,” stated Prime Minister Abhisit.

Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva enacted the emergency law in Bangkok and surrounding areas, allowing the arrest of key leaders of the United Front for Democracy Against Dictatorship (UDD/Red Shirts). The state of emergency also bans gatherings of more than five people. It is the fourth time since 2008 that emergency law has been declared in the capital because of political turmoil.

In addition to the closure of PTV the government has enforced widespread bans on pro-red shirt internet media, currently blocking public access to 36 websites. Those sites that have been blocked include Thai national news publication, prachatai.com and the Fah Diew Kan magazine’s online political forum. Most if not all of the restricted sites were broadcasting live feeds of the red shirt rallies and the anti-government protests. Prachatai editor-in-chief Chuwat Rerksirisuk has demanded that the government explain the reason for its closure.

Following the government issuing a state-of-emergency on Thursday, red shirts leader Nuttawut declared that they (Red Shirts) do not fear the government and will use any force necessary to make their opinions heard. Allegedly tear gas protective gear has been handed out to protesters and Red Shirt ‘guards’ remain vigilant at the rally site although the Centre for the Resolution of the Emergency Situation (CRES) has once again confirmed that the government will not use force to disperse the crowd.

The current political turmoil effecting Thailand, in particular Bangkok, has now been ongoing for over three weeks and is estimated to have cost the economy over Bt15 billion in tourist revenue. The Filipino government released a travel advisory to its population on Thursday, advising them to postpone all non-essential travel to Thailand.

“In view of the declaration of a state of emergency in Bangkok, Filipinos are advised to postpone all non-essential travel to Thailand, particularly to Bangkok. Filipinos who are already in Thailand are advised to avoid areas that have been identified as meeting areas and staging areas for the protesters,” an official statement from the Filipino Department of Foreign Affairs website stated.

Reporter : John Weston   Photo : Internet   Category : Politics News

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