Suthep ups ante, threatens to stop election candidates from registeringBy Bangkok Pundit Dec 23, 2013 11:30AM UTC
Tens of thousands of anti-government demonstrators massed peacefully across Thailand’s capital on Sunday in their latest bid to topple Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra before a February election the main opposition party will boycott.
Chanting “Yingluck, get out”, whistle-blowing protesters gathered at locations around Bangkok and set up stages in at least four places, bringing traffic to a halt at three main intersections and in two commercial districts.
Firebrand protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban, a former Democrat heavyweight, was feted like a rock star at rallies across the city on Sunday. He urged supporters to stop candidates from signing up for the election when registration opens on Monday.
“No matter where this takes place, we will go there and block it. We don’t want this election,” Suthep shouted to roars and applause from tens of thousands of protesters. “We will take our country back from the hands of the Thaksin regime.”
Thailand’s Election Commission had suggested the poll could be delayed, fearing it could be marred by violence, but on Friday it ruled out a postponement.
At least 150,000 people had gathered at several sites across Bangkok by Sunday evening, National Security Council chief Paradorn Pattanatabut said.
Firebrand protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban, who has vowed to destroy the “Thaksin regime”, dismisses Yingluck’s call for an election, saying it will install another Thaksin-allied government.
Addressing a crowd of tens of thousands at the city’s Democracy Monument, Suthep urged protesters to blockade the site where the Election Commission is due to hold party registrations from Monday.
The protesters massed at five main intersections, disrupting traffic in the commercial heart of the capital.
“People want reform before an election,” protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban said at a rally at a Bangkok shopping mall.
“Today we closed Bangkok for half a day. If the government doesn’t resign we will close Bangkok for a whole day… If it still does not resign we will close it for a month,” he is quoted as saying by the French news agency AFP.
The Bangkok Post:
Shortly before Mr Somchai’s announcement, Issara Somchai, a core-leader of the PDRC. who co-headed a protest at Victory Monument ― one of the main five rally venues for Sunday’s city-wide mass rallies ― hinted that he would lead protesters to the Thai-Japanese Sports Stadium at midnight Sunday.
He insisted the PDRC loyalists would not obstruct the registration but would be there to see the faces of the politicians who were opposed to having reform before the election.
BP: Although, Suthep, as mentioned above, was not saying that….
Suthep Thaugsuban, secretary general of the anti-government People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC), said on Rajdamnoen rally stage that protesters would move to rally at the Thai-Japanese Stadium Sunday night ahead of party-list candidate registration there.
“If someone hopes to apply as MP candidate, he or she must pass our rally. We will block it [the stadium] for half a day but we will block everywhere on the February 2 election day,” he announced at 06.50pm.
As tens of thousands of protesters rallied at several points in Bangkok, the capital, the main protest leader, Suthep Thaugsuban, instructed his followers to gather outside the building where the governing party of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and other smaller parties had planned to register for the Feb. 2 national elections.
“If you want to register, you will have to walk past our feet,” said Mr. Suthep, who vowed to organize more protests if necessary.
“We will shut down the country; we will block everyone casting ballots,” he said.
That reference to feet in Thai can be seen by a tweet from a reporter at The Nation Group:
“ถ้าย้ายที่สมัคร ก็จะตามไป…ใครจะเข้าไปสมัคร ก็เดินผ่านตีนกูไปก่อนละกัน” : สุเทพ #nna
— somroutai (@jin_nation) December 22, 2013
BP: By late last night, the protesters had gathered to prevent candidates from entering the venue:
— Richard Barrow (@RichardBarrow) December 22, 2013
Also, Wassana of the Bangkok Post last night posted on Facebook, as summarized into English below:
After the PDRC protested had gone to surround Thai-Japanese stadium that the authorities had a new plan of moving military personnel totalling 390 people as of 1 a.m. and both will be operational as of 7 a.m. (โปรดทราบ……หลังม็อบ กปปส. เข้าล้อมสนามกีฬาไทย-ญี่ปุ่นดินแดง สถานที่รับสมัครรับเลือกตั้ง สส ตั้งแต่ เวลา สี่ทุ่ม 22ธค.แล้ว. ศอรส.ได้ปรับแผนใหม่ โดยขิให้.ทบ.เคลื่อนย้ายกำลังทหาร กองรัอยรักษาความสงบเรียบรัอย(ร้อยรส.) จำนวน 2กองรัอย ของ พล.ม.2รอ. หรือราว 300 นาย พร้อมด้วย สารวัตรทหาร (สห) 90นาย เข้าสนามกีฬาไทย-ญี่ปุ่นดินแดง ในเวลา ตี1. (01.00 น. 23ธค.) โดย สห. พร้อมปฏิบัติเวลา0500 ส่วน ร้อย รส. ทั้ง2กองร้อย จะเริ่มปฏิบัติหน้าที่ ในเวลา07.00 น.)
Sunai of HRW tweets:
— Sunai (@sunaibkk) December 23, 2013
BP: It could be a long day…