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Protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban is planning to march into China Town tomorrow, amid a time of fear of violent confrontations after the red-shirt leader encouraged government supporters to ensure that voting is not interrupted.
Chairperson, Thida Tavonseth, of the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship made the appeal after the People’s Democratic Reform Committee threatened to besiege all fifty offices in Bangkok.
The election commission has asked the national police chief and the Metropolitan Police commissioner in writing to provide police personnel to help maintain law and order and protect the officials at the polling stations. Pol Maj-General Piya Uthayo said that rapid-deployment units would be sent to deal with any emergency.
The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration also has sought assistance from the Army in providing security to its officials manning the polling stations, according to Ninnart Chalitanont, the BMA’s permanent secretary. She said the Army has promised to dispatch soldiers to all polling stations in Bangkok.
Meanwhile more than 200 angry farmers have asked the Lawyer’s Council to represent them in a class action against the government who has technically defaulted on payments under the rice-pledge scheme. Traditionally a political base of the ruling Pheu Thai Party, caretaker Finance Minister Kittirattt Na Rangong is now desperate to raise the Bt130 billion to pay the farmers, some of which have blocked highways by way of protest against the government. Nonpayment of the promised funs has forced some farmers to take money from loan sharks and it is known that at least three rice farmers have committed suicide. The farmers are threatening to march in Bangkok with the mass rallies against the government led by Suthep Thaugsuban if the money is not paid.
The rice pledge fiasco has done nothing to help a country that is already facing a full blown political crisis and global financial crisis under the glare of the international media.
Suthep has called for a temporary suspension of the constitutional government so that an unelected ‘people’s council’ can save democracy. Protestors have blocked Thais from taking park in early voting at polling stations and several people from both sides have been killed. Prime minister Yingluck says that the election must go ahead, but it will not bring peace as Thailand’s political system has broken down.