Major Red Shirt rally cancelled in Samut Prakan


BANGKOK, Jan 31 – Pro-government Red Shirt activists have called off a planned major rally in suburban Samut Prakan province today to avoid violence and attacks on demonstrators, a top group leader said.

Thida Thavornseth, leader of the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD), said Red Shirt members will instead organise peaceful activities including candle lighting instead of a rally after receiving a report of possible attacks on demonstrators.

“Red Shirt people will be busy engaging in monitoring the polls on Sunday,” she said, indicating that it would not be easy for anti-government protests to seal off all polling stations nationwide – the way they did at some constituencies during advance elections last Sunday.

She was referring to a planned three-day march in Bangkok by the anti-government People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC), starting yesterday, to discourage people from going to the polls.

She said the Election Commission should work in full force to organise the snap polls, or it would be sued for breaching the law, reiterating the UDD’s stand against any move to disrupt the Sunday’s general elections.

Former Pheu Thai MP Vorachai Hema said the UDD must cancel its planned massive rally in Samut Prakan today following reports of infiltration and attacks by armed personnel which could lead to violence and casualties, and eventually manipulate the armed forces to stage a coup.

“The UDD has to step back to avoid violence,” he said, calling on Army chief Prayuth Chan-ocha to protect the people.