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PAD calls major protest

Key member arrested over airport seizures

A key member of the People’s Alliance for Democracy has been arrested
on outstanding charges stemming from the movement’s seizure in 2008 of
Bangkok’s two commercial airports.
Maj Gen Chamlong Srimuang, right, speaks to fellow members of the
People’s Alliance for Democracy, including Parnthep Pourpongpan, second
right, and Praphan Khoonmee, wearing glasses. The alliance is pressing
the government to bring home Thai Patriots Network coordinator Veera
Somkhwamkid and his secretary Ratree Pipatanapaiboon after the two were
sentenced to jail on Tuesday by a Phnom Penh court for espionage.
The arrest last night comes as the PAD announced it is planning a
major rally on Saturday to try to force the government from office and
derail plans to hold a general election on the government’s own terms.
Former senator Karun Saingam was arrested last night at Suvarnabhum airport as he returned from Cambodia.
He had been in Phnom Penh as part of a legal team put together by
the Thai Patriots Network to assist seven Thais arrested on Dec 29 for
illegal entry to Cambodia.
Maj Gen Chamlong Srimuang, one of the PAD’s key leaders, said
yesterday the alliance planned to raise the intensity of its
anti-government rally near Government House after the Phnom Penh
Municipal Court on Tuesday sentenced Thai Patriots Network coordinator
Veera Somkhwamkid to eight years in jail and his secretary Ratree
Pipatanapaiboon to six years for spying.
Maj Gen Chamlong said the Abhisit government must see to it that the two are brought home within three days.
If the government ignored its demand, the alliance would seek a
“consensus” on Saturday as to what action should be taken against the
government by PAD supporters across the country.
He told his supporters last night it was up to them to decide on
Saturday if the PAD would invade Government House. “Don’t listen to
anyone who orders you to invade Government House. Just listen to me and
the other leaders and Parnthep [Pourpongpan, PAD spokesman],” he said.
The PAD supporters occupied Government for 193 days in 2008 in an
attempt to topple the Somchai Wongsawat government. Maj Gen Chamlong
said last night: “Don’t worry. It’s easy to enter Government House. No
one knows the place like I do.”
A source close to Maj Gen Chamlong said the move to step up the
protest was aimed at trying to oust the government from office and to
prevent a general election called by the government.
The PAD does not believe an election will bring about a government able to end the problems besetting the country.
Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban, who oversees national
security, said yesterday the government could not dissolve the House
and hold an early election while the PAD and its allies – the Thai
Patriots Network and Santi Asoke sect – continue with their protests.
Mr Suthep said political stability was one of the preconditions set
by Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva before dissolving the House. The
prime minister needed to be sure the election could proceed peacefully.
A government source said an election was out of the question before
parliament met on Feb 11 to vote on the third reading of the proposed
amendments to the constitution and the House of Representatives met on
Feb 16-17 to deliberate an important piece of legislation on the
supplementary mid-year 2011 budget, which will have to wait on
endorsement by the Senate in the middle of next month.
Mr Abhisit yesterday called on all sides to unify in helping the two
Thais imprisoned in Cambodia. He said the PAD should not exploit the
issue for political gain.
“If you disagree with the government, you’d better talk to the
government and tell us your best solution. But someone is trying to
politicise the issue,” he said.
The prime minister said Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya would fly to
Cambodia today to negotiate with his Cambodian counterpart, Hor
Namhong, on the release of Mr Veera and Ms Ratree.
Bangkok Post
Categories: Local News
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