THE authorities are closely following the moves of red shirts in different provinces ahead of a planned symbolic show of support for former prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra scheduled for tomorrow.
However, some red-shirt leaders denied yesterday that planned gatherings of red shirts in different provinces had any political implication.
Earlier, there was a campaign on social media calling for Yingluck’s supporters to wear red on November 1 to give her moral support, as she faces legal action over her government’s corruption-plagued rice subsidy scheme.
Former premier Yingluck posted a photo on her Facebook page yesterday of her with a new book written by her brother, the ex-PM, entitled “Thaksin Shinawatra: Life and Work”.
“Let me hug this book in place of him. I miss my brother. Don’t forget to find this book for your reading, and you will know why I want to hug this book,” she wrote.
Yingluck has no specific plans for tomorrow, but a source close to her said she might go shopping.
Colonel Jatupong Bokbon, deputy head of the Internal Security Operations Command’s Khon Kaen office, said yesterday the authorities were concerned that a “third party” may try to abuse the wearing-red campaign by creating unrest, despite local red-shirt leaders’ promises that they would not hold any such event in the northeastern province.
“The authorities want to maintain peace and order, so we will have to take legal action against anyone who breaks the law,” he said.
In Khon Kaen, police, military and administrative officers met at the Provincial Hall yesterday to assess the situation and discuss preparatory measures. Colonel Jatupong was among the participants.
Meanwhile, Kanchanaburi police deputy commander Colonel Chinnapat Tansrisakul said yesterday there were no reports that red shirts would gather in his province tomorrow and he did not think they would. However, police were closely monitoring the situation and following relevant movements in all villages of the province, he said.
Earlier, the Metropolitan Police said they were also closely monitoring the situation – and preparing to deal with any rally by the red shirts.
Jakkrawut Traiwallop, a red-shirt leader in Nakhon Ratchasima, said yesterday it was possible some red-shirt groups might get together normally tomorrow but he did not think they would “cause unease” for the authorities.
He said red-shirt leaders had often been under watch by the authorities following the coup in May last year.
In regard to the campaign to wear red this Sunday, Jakkrawut said red was synonymous with Sunday so it was not unusual for people to wear red on that day. “Please don’t try to link this to politics, so that reconciliation can be achieved in a concrete way,” he added.
In a related development, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha said last night that reconciliation could not be achieved if accusations continue to be made.
“I must ask dissenters not to point fingers at people and demean others. The kind of democracy everybody wants is coming in the future. Everybody has had strong motivations, which has lead to some people taking actions that have endangered themselves and others. Come forth and talk. I have been informed of promises for dialogue and participation in reforms, and I must thank these parties in advance,” he said.
“I have asked people to have a dialogue with students and lecturers, and to ask for their understanding and to do what is best for the country,” the PM told his audience during his weekly address in the TV programme “Returning Happiness to People in the Country”.
“I have asked officials to talk to teachers and students at Thammasat University and appealed for them to understand the circumstances Thailand is facing at the moment and that democracy is returning while reforms are underway. If everyone thought reform is unnecessary, then I would be discouraged,” he said.
Source: The Nation