Protesters refuse to attend govt forum on political reform

Saturday, 14 December 2013 By  MCOT

BANGKOK, Dec 14 – Anti-government protesters will not send representatives to participate in the state-initiated forum on political reform, according to protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban.

His statement, made at the Democracy Monument rally last night, was a reversal to an earlier announcement by the People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) that it would be represented by three members in the forum, scheduled to be held at Queen Sirikit Convention Centre on Sunday.

Mr Suthep said he was told not to send PDRC members to the event, or else it would be seen as an endorsement of the government’s move.

“We know that conclusion in the forum is predictable. That is, holding a general election to be followed by political reform,” he said.

The PDRC has repeatedly insisted that a general election will not be held unless the country’s political reform materialises first.

The PDRC will organise its own forum at Thammasat University today where people from all quarters, particularly academics, were invited.

Regarding his meeting with the top military brass on Saturday, Mr Suthep said he would explain the PDRC’s objectives for Thailand’s future and answer all questions posed by leaders of the three armed forces.

“The decision is theirs. We are not putting any pressure on them,” he said.

He said he told protesters not to accompany him after a report that police would arrest him when he showed up. Some PDRC executives will join him for the dialogue.

National police chief Adul Saengsingkaew declined to join tomorrow’s meeting, reasoning that Mr Suthep is a suspect with an outstanding arrest warrant on insurrection charges.

“The military arranged the meeting. I want to know how it will react if I’m arrested by police. If that is the case, the (political) game will be over sooner,” he said.

He said he would have no objection to whoever would be invited by the armed forces to the discussion, adding that he would leave immediately after the talks.

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