SIEM REAP, April 15 — Thailand’s ousted premier Thaksin Shinawatra on Sunday morning led his supporters to give alms to Buddhist monks in the Cambodian province of Siem Reap on the occasion of Songkran Festival while reiterating that he would return to Thailand very soon.
Accompanied by his son Panthongtae, his younger sister Yaowapa Wongsawat, as well as leading members of the ruling Pheu Thai Party and the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD) or the Red Shirt movement, Thaskin led them on a round of alms giving to 256 Buddhist monks in a merit-making ceremony.
The ousted premier expressed appreciation to the UDD supporters who joined the ceremony and gave him full support.
Mr Thaksin was deposed in 2006 bloodless coup. He has been living in self exile ever since, mostly in Dubai, to avoid serving a two-year jail term for violating a conflict-of-interest law.
On Saturday evening, he addressed his supporters who had crossed the border to meet him at Cultural Plaza where the Red Shirts organised an event to mark the Thai traditional new year Songkran Festival amid tight security.
Repeating his earlier words that he would return to Thailand very soon, Thaksin told his supporters, “I am confident that the year 2012 is an auspicious year for all of us to live peacefully without any serious challenges, as it marks the auspicious occasions of the 60th birthday anniversary of HRH Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn which falls on July 28th and the 80th birthday anniversary of Her Majesty Queen Sirikit [which falls on August 12th].”
“There are things indicating that I could return home to stay with my brothers,” the 63-year-old ex-premier said, adding that he was overwhelmed by the many supporters who have turned up for him wanting him to return to Thailand. He said it would not be a long wait as he would return to Thailand very soon.
He said all of Thailand has been suffering over the past six years, as everybody wanted the country to regain normalcy, and he was confident he could rejoin his supporters in Thailand to repay their faith.
Praising Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, his youngest sister, for her strength which he described as “beyond his expectation,” Thaksin asked the crowd whether or not Thailand’s first female premier ever let the people down since she was elected overwhelmingly last July.
Mr Thaksin earlier visited Lao PDR and spent three days in the neighbouring country where he was also warmly received by another large crowd of Red Shirt supporters who crossed the Mekong River to pay respects to their leader.