Red-shirts beat war drum to raise massive army: Thailand’s red-shirt United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD) is vowing to mobilise millions of its supporters in a show of strength against anti-government protesters, say reports.
Red-shirt leaders across the country met today at a “UDD war drum” meeting to discuss the current political crisis before calling for a mass red-shirt rally.
The meeting began at 9:30 Sunday morning at Chalerm Phra Kiat sports stadium in Muang district of Nakhon Ratchasima province, and was attended by about 4,000 UDD leading members, including Jatuporn Prompan, Tida Thawornseth, Nathawut Saikuar, and Weng Tojirakarn.
UDD leaders discussed ways of safeguarding democracy and pushing for the completion of the Feb 2 election, which was disrupted by anti-government protesters in some districts and provinces.
They intended to draw up a battle strategy against the anti-government People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) protest group.
After the meeting, UDD leaders announced a change of strategy that will zero in on the PDRC, independent agencies, the judicial system and any attempt to use the military for a direct or indirect coup, said a Bangkok Post report.
UDD chair Tida Thawornseth referred to the “fraudulent independent agencies of the aristocratic elite”, and said the judicial system was marred by injustice, according to reports.
Mr Jatuporn urged red-shirts to take extra care during the upcoming “battle”, claiming the PDRC is protected by a group of heavily armed men.
He reportedly said the battle would draw “millions” of red-shirts, and could be finished in three days if more people were mobilised.
“If the red shirts stage a mass rally, we will not lose,” he said. “If we suffer defeat, it means democracy will suffer a defeat too. We don’t want to see the current political situation be like Rwanda or Cambodia where civil wars broke out.”
“If we, the red shirts, do not come out, this government and democratic rule will be completely brought down by March,” said Mr Jatuporn.
He claimed the problem facing the UDD was not just the PDRC led by Suthep Thaugsuban, but also the network of aristocratic elites – the same people who were behind the Sept 19, 2006 coup and the 2010 political violence, according to Mr Jatuporn.
A UDD leader from the North reportedly said the red-shirts would fight if the military stages a coup to overthrow the caretaker government of Yingluck Shinawatra, and that up to 5,000 red-shirts will protest in front of military bases in each province as a show of force against a possible coup.
Mr Suthep responded to the UDD’s planned mass rally by saying he was not worried. He urged those wanting to be “slaves” of ousted premier Thaksin Shinawatra to join the red-shirt rally, said reports.