RATCHAPRASONG, MAY 4, 2010: United front for Democracy Against Dictatorship (UD) leaders have today agreed to the “road map for reconciliation” offered by Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva last night but vowed to continue occupying the Ratchaprasong shopping district in the heart of Bangkok.
Core UDD leader Veera Musikhapong called on the government to stop involving the monarchy in the ongoing political situation and said the leaders would not trade amnesty for themselves in exchange for ending their peaceful campaign for democracy and equality for all Thai citizens. “Each of us is prepared to fight the trumped up anti-monarchy and terrorist charges that have been brought against us by the government using the laws of the country so these matters have nothing to do with our decision regarding the reconciliation offer made by Abhisit”.
UDD secretary-general, Natthawut Saikua, echoed the same comments and called on PM Abhisit to specify the date he intends to dissolve parliament and also for him to lift the state of emergency decree so that people are free to travel and assemble without persecution.
Until PM Abhisit details the date the parliament will be dissolved the red-shirt rally, now in its 50th day, will continue at the Ratchaprasong intersection in the heart of the Bangkok commercial and upscale shopping district, he said.
Mr. Natthawut also called for the ban and censoring of red-shirt radio and television stations, along with the blocking and censoring of external media and websites by the government to cease so that people had access to sources of information that were not dictated to or influenced by the government.
Pheu Thai MP and core re-shirt leader Jatuporn Prompan said, “the fact he [Abhisit] announced the election date and not the date for dissolution of the House makes me think he’s not in power”.
He also said “the government still has not taken responsibility for the deadly Songkran riots of last year”.
Another UDD co-leader, Dr. Weng Tochirakarn, also said the leaders woul not use the charges leveled against them by the government as a bargaining tool, and said the red-shirt protesters had always striven for a peaceful disolution of the Thai parliament.
“We are the ones who have attempted to reconcile the differences in the country peacefully. It is the government who has deployed war weapons against us. Abhisit might like to claim the credit for this… by using media channels that ave been denied to us… but in reality the idea and goal has been ours from the beginning”.
Dr. Weng called on the Thai government to stop defaming the red-shirt movement by labeling them terrorists, and said the group will soon start to distribute a booklet throughout the country explaining the goals of the movement as well as answering frequently asked questions people have concerning the government, the state, etc.
RATCHAPRASONG, MAY 4, 2010: Noted exiled Thai socialist Giles Ji Ungpakorn has examined the various aspects of the peace plan offered last night by Thailand Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva last night and responded to the points it contained.
Mr. Ungpakorn’s analysis of the Abhisit offer is that “it was full of lies and excuses”. His analysis also touches on the accusations of lese majeste against red-shirt leaders, media censorship, the offer to set up an “independent” committee to look into the April 10 bloodshed, the National Human Rights Commission, and the lies penned by the Thai media.
The full analysis can be found here: What Thai Prime Minister Abhisit really offered today
RATCHAPRASONG, MAY 4, 2010: United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD) leaders will today seek further details on the offer by Thailand Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva to hold elections on November 14, 2010, 13 month ahead of the scheduled time.
At the morning media briefing UDD general-secretary Natthawut Saikua said the group will hold talks amongst the UDDs top 20 leaders first and then seek additional information from the ruling Democrat Party before announcing whether the offer will be accepted or rejected.
“There is currently no evidence to support whether this is a unilateral announcement by Abhisit, or whether it has been made with the agreement of the Democrat Party and other members of the government coalition”, he said.
“Yesterday we had [deputy prime minister] Suthep [Thaugsuban] planning a crackdown and warning that we might be killed, later in the day we had [Centre for the Resolution of Emergency Situations (CRES)] spokesman [Colonel] Sansern [Kaewkamnerd] also warning of a crackdown with armored vehicles supposedly being readied, and last night we have Abhisit on television offering an election on November 14. Excuse us for being confused, but the question that needs to be asked is does one hand know what the other is doing?
“So far the only person to talk about an early dissolution of parliament and early elections is Abhisit”, he said.
Mr. Natthawut said that while the offer from PM Abhisit was a step in the right direction towards national reconciliation, the five steps outlined did not go far enough.
Fellow UDD core leader Kokaew Pikulthong said that while the matter had not yet been discussed between all of the leaders, he saw no reason why dissolution of the house needed to wait until September and elections held off until November.
“In reality this is the same stance that Abhisit has taken from the outset. Despite two face to face meetings, 28 people being killed, more than 1,000 people injured and the UDD softening it’s stance from immediate dissolution to 30-days, Abhisit is still attempting to cling to power and for the original nine months that he offered in the peace talks at the end of March.
“He says he’s listened to us, but when you look at the offer he has made it’s obvious that while he made have heard us and been stunned by the tremendous level of support and the resolve of the red-shirt supporters, he has in fact not listened to a single word the people have said.”
Today is day 50 of the red-shirts pro-democracy protest against the government of Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva and the 30th day protesters have occupied the Ratchaprasong shopping precinct in the heart of Bangkok.