Democrat Party going ahead with rally at Ratchaprasong


BANGKOK, June 20 – Thailand’s Democrat Party will press ahead with a major election campaign rally at Bangkok’s Ratchaprasong intersection on Thursday, at the site where last year’s clashes between government forces and ‘Red Shirt’ United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD) protesters in April and May, a party executive said here Monday.

Ongart Klampaiboon, chairman of the Democrat party’s Bangkok MPs, said his party will rally at Ratchaprasong area as planned to foster better understanding between the party and the public about the government’s handling of the Red Shirt protest last year.

He said the party neither wanted to cause further rifts nor trouble the public as this week’s political activities will be held in the open space in front of CentralWorld shopping mall, not on the roadway that would obstruct traffic.

Mr Ongart, who is also Minister attached to the Prime Minister’s Office, urged those who dislike the party to stay clear of such political activity to avoid confrontation that might escalate.

“They should show their political expression or hold political activities on the other day or other time not the same time and the same place to avoid confrontations which could lead to problems. That would not be good for the upcoming general election,” he said.

Mr Ongart brushed aside a report that the UDD would dress like ghosts to attend Democrat rally, saying that he believed the Ratchaprasong rally would help the public better understand and acknowledge the facts of last year’s incident.

Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva as the Democrat party leader will address the public himself Thursday, he said.

Meanwhile, Yingluck Shinawatra, opposition Pheu Thai top party-list candidate, said her party is neither involved nor has ordered any movement of Red Shirt supporters to harass Democrat Party candidates as being alleged.

Speaking during her campaign in the lower North on Monday, the youngest sister of ousted prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra said legal action must be taken against anyone found violating the law and that will demonstrate her party’s sincerity, and that it does not support such action.

“We want all parties concerned to ensure that the election will be run constructively. Any satisfaction or discontent should be kept (to oneself) and make it heard on the polling day,” she said. (MCOT online news)