Thailand red shirts rally, threaten to go to Bangkok: Thailand’s red shirt United Front for Democracy Against Dictatorship (UDD) began its mass rally to counter the ongoing anti-government People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) protests on Saturday, aimed at mobilising its supporters in the North and Northeast of the country, according to reports.
UDD chairwoman Tida Tawornseth said, “This campaign is our big rehearsal before we will meet those in Bangkok who do not love democracy”.
“It is possible that we will move to Bangkok, but when we do this depends on the situation,” she said.
Ms Tida added that the red shirts are angered by the PDRC’s movement to oust the Pheu Thai-led government of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra.
She said the red shirt rally, which was launched in Udon Thani, aimed to mobilise at least 50,000 supporters to kick off the campaign against the PDRC. The UDD expected over 20,000 more people to join the rally on Saturday, as it moves on to Kalasin, Maha Sarakham and Khon Kaen, said a Bangkok Post report.
A northern campaign will be launched in Chiang Mai next week, said the UDD chairwoman.
Ms Tida accepted that some red shirt groups were discussing separating Thailand because of the deeply entrenched divisions in the nation.
However, UDD leaders did not agree with this idea, she insisted.
“Why would we want to separate? We are the majority of this country,” she said.
Worachai Hema, a UDD co-leader and former Pheu Thai MP, said today’s rally would be the largest-ever gathering of red shirts, with a 20 kilometre-long “caravan” moving across the provinces to mobilise people to join the campaign.
He said it shows red shirts are ready to counter PDRC leader Suthep Thaugsuban, who was trying to topple the democratically elected government.
Mr Worachai said the red shirts would definitely move into Bangkok if it appeared the caretaker government was about to be overthrown by undemocratic means.
Meanwhile, on Saturday red shirt leader Suporn Atthawong launched a campaign to recruit “warriors” to defend democracy and fight for righteousness and justice, expecting to eventually draw at least 600,000 volunteers from across the country.