The pro-government United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD), the red shirt movement, last week announced its anti-coup campaign across the country for January 13, the same day as the anti-government group plans to shut down the capital to oust the caretaker government.
UDD key leader Nattawut Saikua asked red shirt supporters who are against shutting down the capital by the People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) led by former deputy premier and Democrat MP for Surat Thani Suthep Thaugsuban to show their purpose and join the UDD mass rally on January 13 at 9am in every province – except Bangkok, Nonthaburi, Pathum Thani and Samut Prakan. But people in these provinces are invited to join the rally in other provinces.
He said the UDD campaign is meant to support the February 2 general election. He pledged that the rally will be peaceful and avoid any confrontations.
Natthawut urged those who join the rally to not put on red shirts as the campaign will be driven by eligible voters wanting to cast their votes. He also invited pro-election elements to come out to make their voices heard.
For the southern region which is a stronghold of the opposition Democrat Party, Nattawut said local residents will assess the situation as to whether or not to organize the January 13 rally for their own safety.
After the rally day, the UDD leader said the protesters can return home and follow the group’s main rally stages in three regions – North, Central and Northeast – on television.
He said the group will also hand in letters to foreign embassies and international human rights bodies to clarify its move which opposes the people’s assembly proposed by Suthep.
“No one has ever dared to challenge the people’s power as Suthep does today,” Nattawut said, describing the PDRC head’s action as a “move which is not different from a coup. No matter you are a red shirt or not, no matter which party you support, we urge all of you to join the anti-coup movement.”
“We want to announce that we are now ready to let the world know that our country wants the election to be held and is against all forms of coups,” he said.