Bangkok — Thailand’s protest leaders are describing Monday’s planned marches as the “final battle” against the government of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, and the day’s outcome would make clear whether the protesters “win or lose”.
The plan Monday is for all protesters to rally in front of Government House at 9:39am in an attempt to bring down the government.
Anti-government protester spokesman Akanat Promphan on Saturday said the People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) is prepared to end its protests if only a small number of people turn out on Monday, according to reports.
But he said he believed if a large number of people turned out, there would be a change in government.
If not many people join Monday’s rally, the PDRC would end its rally and its co-leaders would surrender to police to fight all charges against them in court, he said.
Mr Akanat insisted that contrary to the claims of critics, the protest is not an attempt to stage a coup or to tear down the constitution, but to bring power back to the people.
Protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban also vowed on Friday night that protesters would “blow the final whistle” on Monday to seize power from the Yingluck government, said a Bangkok Post report.
He said he did not want to prolong the demonstrations any longer, and that Monday would determine whether the protesters “win or lose”.
Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Surapong Tovichakchaikul on Saturday sent an “urgent” letter to the heads of state agencies telling them to prevent protesters from occupying their buildings.
Mr Surapong also heads the Centre for the Administration of Peace and Order (Capo), and said in the letter that the PDRC had violated the law by inciting unrest and instigating rebellion, which endangered national stability.
He added that the international community does not accept the PDRC’s actions.
The anti-government protests started out in early November as demonstrations against the blanket amnesty bill pushed through the House of Representatives by the ruling Pheu Thai Party, largely out of fear it would pardon former premier Thaksin Shinawatra for corruption charges and allow his return to Thailand.
Though the amnesty bill was later rejected by the Senate, the protest leaders turned the demonstrations into an attempt to overthrow the government and rid Thailand of the influence of the “Thaksin regime”.
Mr. Suthep claims the Yingluck government lost all legitimacy when it openly rejected a November 20 Constitutional Court ruling that overturned a charter amendment that would have made the Senate a fully-elected chamber.
Mr. Suthep wants a royally appointed prime minister and a “people’s council” to reform the political system.