Bangkok, the 20th of March 2010 [TNA]: The UDD early Saturday began their convoy of cars, pickups and motorcycles criss-crossing the Thai capital’s key streets around Bangkok. They began rolling out from Yommaraj at 10am headed for key business areas including Phetchaburi Road, Ratchadapisek Road, Lat Phrao Road, Rama IV Road, Silom Road, Yaowaraj Road, Wongwienyai and then back to their base area at Phan Fah Bridge.
Mr Natthawut said he appreciated the outcome of the mass rally on Saturday as many Bangkok residents came out to give moral support all along the way through streets in Bangkok. He said Prime Minsiter Abhisit Vejjajiva should realise how much the Red Shirts are supported by the people and that he should bow to the Red Shirt demand. The UDD protesters have rallied in Bangkok for one week already in their bid to force Mr Abhisit to dissolve the parliament and call for a fresh general election. Mr Natthawut also apologised to the people of Bangkok and asked for understanding if the Red Shirt motorcade inconvenienced them as traffic in varied areas of Bangkok became virtually gridlocked for hours.
As their caravan progressed through Bangkok’s normally crowded streets, the Red Shirt protesters distributed leaflets to Bangkokians to promote an improved understanding of the ideology, goals and the protesters claim that they are carrying out their demonstration for democracy. The protest was also intended as an opportunity to apologise to the Bangkok residents who may face difficulties from the demonstration. No violence happend during the demonstration, although there were some small incidents between the Red Shirt protesters and people who did not support the rally, he said.
As for the proposed talks between the government and the Red Shirt, Mr Natthawut said the movement never closed the door for talks, but would not accept the premier delegating Minister attached to the Prime Minister’s Office Satit Wonghnongtaey and prime minister’s secretary general Korbsak Sabhavasu to represent the government in the talks. He said the Red Shirts would talk only with the prime minister who leads the govemment and without any preconditions, and that the UDD has only one proposal, that it the dissolution of the House.
The Red Shirts are not in a hurry to hold talks as they can stay at the protest site for a long time, but the prime minister should dissolve parliament to let the country move on, he said. Meanwhile, Mr Abhisit thanked all agencies that helped let the demonstration around Bangkok conclude without incident. He said on Monday, Mr Satit and Mr Korbsak would meet with UDD representatives after the senate coordinates the meeting. However, he said, it was difficult to predict the result of the talks but at least it was a good sign that the Red Shirt leaders were ready to exchange views with the government.
Mr Abhisit promised to not let the situation continue in unclarity, but would push and quickly find a clear solution. He emphasised that he was prepared to dissolve parliament but it must be for a practical reason that could lead to peace for the country. (TNA)