RATCHAPRASONG, APRIL 23, 2010: United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD) leaders have this afternoon submitted an amended list of demands to the government aimed at ending their 41-day protest and the 21-day occupation of the central Bangkok shopping district.
The list of conditions for the red-shirts ending their protest is: (1) The dissolution of the lower House of parliament within 30-days; (2) Fresh elections to be held within 90-days; (3) An independent investigation into the deaths of protesters and military personnel on April 10; (4) An independent investigation into the grenade attack in Silom Road last night and: (5) An immediate end to all harassing, threatening and intimidation of red-shirt protesters by the Thai military.
Co-UDD leader Veera Musikhapong said the offer has been formulated to end the ongoing political turmoil and allow the country to start to return to normal. He said the leaders believed the offer showed a willingness by the red-shirts to compromise and called on the government to endorse the propossal before any more lives were lost
RATCHAPRASONG, APRIL 23, 2010: Interviews with many of the Thai and foreign media who covered the late night and early morning clash between United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD) protesters and people in Silom Rd. has left the clear impression that the melee was the result of paid hooligans recruited to escalate the current political situation.
Core UDD leader Dr. Weng Tochirakarn said today that he has spoken to many journalists and photographers who were in the Silom Rd. area at the time of the grenade explosions and none said they believed the grenades had come from behind the red-shirt barricade.
“In addition, the point of impact and trajectory indicate the missiles were fired or thrown from within the military controlled area of Silom Rd. We also have a first-hand report from someone near where one of the bombs exploded who said it was dropped by a woman wearing a yellow-shirt and resulted in eight people being injured”.
Dr. Weng said the red-shirts protest has been based on peaceful means since the outset and “our guards have been extremely diligent in searching people and vehicles entering the protest site for weapons as well as in monitoring people moving around the protest site.
“A number of journalists and photographers I have spoken to have said that many of the group that engaged in bottle throwing and the firing projectiles at the red-shirts’ barricade and police commencing at about 11pm smelt strongly of alcohol and were being directed by between three and five coordinators.
“Some of the journalists have said the group carried signs in English, but when they were approached had no idea what the signs said. We are left with a very clear impression that the grenade explosions and subsequent melee were the result of a third-hand at play with the clear intention of escalating the situation between yellow-shirts and red-shirts,” Dr. Weng said.
Dr. Weng said the army and government need to take responsibility for last nights grenade attack as Silom Rd. is under the direct supervision of the military.
“It defies belief and is an insult to the intelligence of ordinary people for them to pass the blame on to us. For a grenade to have been fired from inside the red-shirt barricade and land where they did they would have to clear the four lane Ram IV flyover, the Silom Bridge walkway and the BTS system.
“Does the government and army expect the people to believe we have sophisticated guided missiles? Because that’s what they would need to have been”, he said.
RATCHAPRASONG, APRIL 23, 2010: UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon last night voiced concern about the ongoing political stand-off in Thailand, where several dozen people have died this month in clashes between anti-Government protesters and police on the streets of the capital, Bangkok.
“The Secretary-General is very concerned about the continuing stand-off and tensions in Thailand, and the potential for this to escalate,” his spokesperson, Martin Nesirky, told reporters at United Nations Headquarters in New York.
Mr. Ban “appeals to both the protesters and the Thai authorities to avoid further violence and loss of life and to work to resolve the situation peacefully, through dialogue. This is a moment requiring restraint on all sides.”
Earlier this week the head of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) added her voice to concerns about the violence in Bangkok.
Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO, issued a statement calling on Thai authorities to protect the safety of journalists after a cameraman was killed and a photographer was injured during the clashes.