Red Shirts told to avoid DSI Thursday


BANGKOK, Dec 11 – Deputy Commerce Minister and Red Shirt co-leader Nattawut Saikua today called on pro-government activists to refrain from rallying at the Department of Special Investigation (DSI) Thursday when two opposition Democrat Party MPs appear to acknowledge criminal charges against them.

Former prime minister Abhisit Vejjajiva and his then deputy, Suthep Thuagsuban, are scheduled to meet with DSI officials to hear allegations of conspiring in the murders of Red Shirt supporters during Bangkok’s political upheaval in 2010 in their capacity as supervisors of the Centre for the Resolution of the Emergency Situation (CRES).

Mr Suthep was officially appointed director of CRES, which was set up to specifically to deal with the civil protest.

Mr Nattawut said the Red Shirt demonstration at the DSI, if organised, will contribute to verbal attacks by their opponents.

“However, it can be done if relatives of the deceased activists show up at the DSI to protest against requests to bail the pair,” he said.

The DSI earlier implicated Mr Abhisit and Mr Suthep with murder following a ruling by the Criminal Court that taxi driver Phan Kamkong was shot dead by soldiers under CRES command.

He said the government is currently beset with several issues including the constitutional amendment process and the unexpected appearance on state-run television Channel 11 of former premier Thaksin Shinawatra which has drawn criticisms from several anti-government quarters.

Mr Nattawut, however, defended the ousted prime minister and said it was not inappropriate (for Mr Thaksin) to pay homage to His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej in his capacity as a Thai citizen.

Mr Thaksin’s appearance during a Thai boxing event in Macau over the weekend has stirred an uproar in Thailand but the deputy commerce minister stood firm that it will not have any negative impact on the government since the former premier merely showed his loyalty to the monarch.

Regarding a move against the government’s unrelenting attempt to amend the constitution now pending parliamentary debate in its third reading, Mr Nattawut said it is an ideological conflict between liberal democratic and conservative factions in Thai society.

The opposition raised the conflict as a condition (to avoid amending the constitution), but the government must listen to the majority of people, Mr Nattawut said.