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Red Shirt supporters, Suthep Thuagsuban and UK government warnings

Red Shirt supporters who originally scheduled their rally in Bangkok to end tonight have said it will expand if the Constitution Court’s ruling today fails to appease them.

Thida Thavornseth, chairwoman of the United Front for Democracy Against Dictatorship (UDD), said the rally at Rajamangala Stadium is to monitor the court’s judgment on a charter amendment concerning electoral procedures and composition of the Senate.

11 protest 2A bill, calling for the election of all members of the Senate, with no appointed members as at present, was passed by Parliament, prompting the opposition Democrat Party to lodge a petition with the Constitution Court claiming that Parliament’s action breaches Section 68 of the charter.

Mrs Thida said the Constitution review was approved by the national legislative body and the judicial branch should not intervene and block the action. The three pillars of democracy – administrative, legislative and judicial branches – should not interfere with each other, said Mrs Thida. She said Thailand will be in chaos if the Constitution Court dissolves the ruling Pheu Thai Party and revokes the political rights of 312 MPs and senators.

“We may mobilise the suporters (now at Rajamangala Stadium) instead of calling it off Wednesday night. Core leaders will hold a meeting if the court’s ruling is not in our favour. However, we will not pressure, threaten or assault the judges,” said Mrs Thida. “The demonstrators will listen to only three core leaders – myself, Nattawut Saikua and Jatuporn Prompan. We assure that our fight will be peaceful.”

The UDD leaders went on stage to address to the demonstrators at Rajamangala Stadium last night without the usual video-linked speech by ousted Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra meanwhile anti-government protest leader Suthep Thuagsuban last night told several thousands of his supporters that if he was assassinated, then it was the work of the police.

11 protestHis reaction to the police came after his team of about 40 men was stopped and searched at a police checkpoint on the road to his home late Monday night after finishing his address to the crowd at the Democracy Monument.
He said the search was ordered by Labor Minister Chalerm Yoobamrung who was just appointed to handle the anti-government protest, replacing deputy prime minister Pracha Promnok.

He said the police wanted to search for weapon in his car but nothing was found that could be regarded as weapon, even a tooth pick. He said he did not fear for his life and was ready to die if it was meant to bring the Thaksin regime down. He said he knew pretty well of what sort of person the labor minister is and all his police bodyguards around him when he was then deputy prime minister and was in charge of the national police office. He also said that the day when he was assassinated would be the fall of the Thaksin regime and the victory of the people.

Yesterday The British government s was warning of the security risks of traveling to Thailand because of the possibility of large protests this week. The British Foreign and Commonwealth Office said there have been a number of political demonstrations in Bangkok and elsewhere in Thailand since the beginning of November.

“Further protests could take place with little warning,” it advised.

Opposition groups staged a rally in Bangkok last weekend. The Bangkok Post reported demonstrators called for the impeachment of all members of Parliament for supporting a general amnesty petition, viewed as a path for the return of the former government. Yingluck Shinawatra became prime minister after a general election in 2011. Her brother,  Thaksin Shinawatra was ousted by a military coup in 2006 while he was out of the country and still faces criminal charges.

Clashes between supporters of the Red Shirt movement, loyal to the ousted prime minster, and security forces left at least 89 people dead in 2010. A 275-page report from a truth and reconciliation commission said both sides were likely responsible for the escalation of violence.

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