Thailand: red shirts attack protesters in Chiang Mai — Anti-government protesters were intercepted and attacked by red shirt supporters in the northern Thai city of Chiang Mai on Sunday, while staging a reform-before-election campaign, according to reports.
A group of the anti-government protest group called the People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) had gathered on Sunday afternoon in front of a Christian church on the eastern side of Nawarat Bridge, reported Thairath Online.
They had planned to march to the official residence of Governor Wichian Puttiwinyu near the bridge to hold a peaceful whistle-blowing rally to demand the resignation of caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra.
Following that, they planned to move to the Three Kings Monument in the old city area. The protesters were in a convoy of two mobile stage trucks and 10 cars, plus motorcycles and bicycles, according to a Bangkok Post report.
But some 100 supporters of the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (red shirts) appeared on the other side of the bridge, to prevent the protesters from gathering at the governor’s residence.
The protesters therefore cancelled their planned rally at the governor’s residence, and headed to the Three Kings Monument, but were intercepted by the group of red shirts at Ratchawong Intersection.
The red shirts threw water bottles, rocks, and flower pots at the passing vehicles of the protesters, reported Manager Online. They also reportedly kicked motorcyclists and bicyclists and assaulted them after they fell.
Police intervened and were soon able to contain the situation, and many more officers were deployed to prevent confrontations between the two groups.
Meanwhile, in Bangkok the PDRC staged a warm-up march through the capital on Sunday, urging people to join the planned shut down of Bangkok on January 13 in an attempt to force Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra to resign. Protest leaders reportedly said only the inner parts of Bangkok would be shut down where government offices are located.
Centre for the Administration of Peace and Order (Capo), warned protesters taking part in the January 13 event to be watchful for any “third party” that may try to cause violence during the demonstration.
The government said it was worried about the prospect of a “third-party” with the intention of causing violence and blaming it on either the police or the protesters, and said some people had already been arrested with guns and bombs who confessed to being hired to launch attacks, according to reports.