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Suthep Thaugsuban was born on the 7th of July 1949 in Tha Sathon, Phunphin Districts of Surat Thani. He is a politician and a former Member of Parliament for Surat Thani province. He was the secretary general of the Democratic Party until 2011 and deputy prime minister to the unelected Abhisit Vejjejiva. He resigned his seat in Parliament in November 2013 to become the leader of the People’s Democratic Reform Committee who are now conducting the mass protests in Bangkok in an attempt to unseat the government of Yingluck Shinawatra who they accuse of being a puppet for her brother Thaksin.
Suthep has been associated with many scandals. As part of the Sor Por Kor 4-01 land reform scheme he gave 592 land title deeds from the hills of Phuket province to 489 farmers, 11 turned out to be wealthy families in Phuket. He addressed a huge crowd in his Surat Thani province constituency a month before a no-confidence debate and called on his supporters to march in Bangkok to defend his reputation. The scandal led Prime Minister Chuan Leekpai of the Democratic Party to dissolve the House of Representatives in July 1995 in order to avoid the no-confidence debate.
In 2009 he was accused of violating the Constitution of Thailand by holding equity in a media firm that had received concession from the government. In July 2009, the Election Commission announced that it would seek a ruling by the Constitutional Court to disqualify him.
Suthep held a press conference later that day announcing his decision to resign from Parliament. However his resignation did not affect his status as Deputy Prime Minister and as a Cabinet Member. If his case had been submitted to the Constitution Court, he would have been suspended from duty as Deputy Prime Minister. He insisted his resignation was not a proof that he had done anything wrong but that he was worried about status as Deputy Prime Minister.
On the 3rd of July 2011 the Democrats were defeated at the general election, in response Suthep immediately stepped down as the party’s secretary general.
In 2013 after several criminal court rulings that deaths and injuries sustained by red shirt protestors during the political unrest in 2010 were the direct result of an orders given to soldiers by Suthep, the public prosecutors and police agreed to file murder charges against him.
On the 11th of December this year he resigned as n MP to lead a campaign of civil disobedience against the government.
Quotes from Suthep
“As I’ve repeatedly said, I have not taken on this battle because I desire political office; I’ve already rejected that possibility.”
“Our goal of immediate reform is clear. The caretaker government needs to stop its efforts to negotiate with me – I represent the millions of you who have taken this stand against Thaksin’s proxies, and your voices will be represented. As all of you are demanding reform before the next election, this is what we will continue to demand without compromise!”
“The government is now desperately trying to extinguish our efforts with lies and false accusations. I’ve been told by concerned individuals to set things straight so the public doesn’t have misunderstandings. Thank you for your concern. Please listen up. This will be my last public service. After this task is finished, I’m going home. So I don’t care if the government or anyone else tries to tarnish my reputation – I will not be running for any public office after this, so I could care less what people say about me now”
“During my 35 years as a politician, people have loved and hated me. Coincidentally, almost all of those who hate me are among those we’re trying to topple now.”
“The masses seek to reform and restructure the police system to avoid future abuses by high-ranking officers. I realize there are current attempts to incite hatred of anti-government protesters in police forces in the North and Northeast. Those powers intend to recruit and transport about 80,000 officers to quell our upcoming marches and plans before 11 January 2014. But there are a significant amount of law-abiding officers who won’t play this game. They won’t fight us, and we won’t fight them – our protests are peaceful and unarmed.”
“National Police chief Adul, deputy Worapong Chewpreecha, if you continue these efforts, or if you harm more civilians, are you ready to go to prison for your actions?”
“Brothers and sisters, we are good citizens. That’s why we are trying to disrupt Bangkokians as little as possible. Where else would a street occupation reserve a lane for public buses? Ambulances and medical vehicles can also freely move. But state-owned vehicles are not allowed”
“Fellow citizens and friends, rest assured that our work here is for the public good. All of Thailand will benefit from our eradication of the Thaksin regime. It’s now or never – if we lose, the Thaksin regime will wholly consume our country, write a new constitution, immediately grant amnesty to that crook currently in exile for all his misdeeds. This is why we must aim for all-or-nothing, and why we must win.”
“The world should witness and understand our uprising. To this end, signs – in Thai, English, or any other language – would be one of the most effective way to communicate our objectives. Please make as many signs as possible and post them outside your residences or vehicles.”
“As you know, our mass civil disobedience commences in Bangkok on 13 Jan. 2014. Friends in every province are also organizing parallel events. But for those who have expressed concern, there is no need to worry. We are peace-loving civilized protesters, unlike certain UDD protesters that sold their souls and killed others for Thaksin’s spare change”
“PDRC members have asked me to come up with a slogan for National Children’s Day. Here it is: “Think wisely, love your homeland and King, be true and preserve your Thainess.” The children who come here on the 11th can witness the dedication and patriotism we all share, and hopefully be inspired by our hopes and dreams of a better, brighter Thailand.”
“The masses are determined to uproot the Thaksin regime and reform Thailand for a better future. We will not stop until we win! And we are not afraid.”
“Yingluck, don’t you realize you’re just a political shadow puppet (nang talung) controlled by your brother? Stop playing his games and really look at what is best for Thailand.”
“We are departing Ratchadamnoen on the 13th and will set up 7 stages all around Bangkok. Here are the 7 locations:
– In front of Chaengwattana Government complex.
– Lardprao Junction. Our friends from the north and Isaan will be there. Rangsit University faculty and students will host the events here.
– Victory Monument.
– Pathumwan junction. Chulalongkorn University will organize the events here.
– Lumpini park. Our friends from Silom will host the events at this location.
– Asoke. Mor Sor Wor Prasanmitr (Srinakharinwirot University) and NIDA to host.
– Ratchaprasong. Celebrities and artists led by Dr. Seri Wongmonta will take the stage here.”
“It is time for us to show the world that this sham government can no longer govern. We are focusing on blocking government officials from traveling to work, although director-generals and deputy permanent secretaries have already openly joined our rallies. They even gave us tips on which areas to occupy.”
“We will prevail over the Thaksin regime, my friends. It is only a matter of when. And on the day that sovereign power is returned to the people, our first act will be to seize the assets of Yingluck and her corrupt cronies who have pillaged our country.”
“To those UDD (redshirt) leaders who keep terrorizing us, who keep threatening to murder me, we’re not afraid of you! If you take me down, a million Kamnan Sutheps are ready to immediately replace me. There’s no room left for you here. We will accept nothing less than a free, fair Thailand for our future generations. We are not afraid!”
“Today I met with members of the foreign press. They were confused about what we’re doing and why we’re demanding reform before elections. I had to explain how this sham government is completely corrupt and has completely corrupted Thailand’s electoral system and bureaucracy. I told them the whole history of the reincarnation of Thaksin’s dirty party: the original Thai Rak Thai, which was dissolved by the courts and reborn as the People’s Power Party, which was then also dissolved by courts and subsequently reborn as the current Pheu Thai. Has such an abomination ever happened in any other country?”
“It’s time for us to reclaim our country, brothers and sisters. Its’s time to rise up against the Thaksin regime. It’s now or never. Join us one and all and we shall swiftly prevail.”
Quotes taken from The People’s Democratic Reform Committee Facebook Page