Bangkok, the 18th of September 2010: UDD activists, better known as Red Shirt protesters, will gather at certain key locations across the capital on Sunday in order to commemorate the four-month anniversary since the bloody end to a 10-week campaign staged in Bangkok over April/May of this year. The gatherings will also mark the fourth anniversary of the coup to oust former Prime Minister and Red Shirt proponent Thaksin Shinawatra in 2006.
During 2010’s two month protests 89 people lost their lives, largely supporters of the anti-government Red Shirt campaign, while a further 1,900 were injured. The protests ended in the violent military-led crackdown on their main Ratchaprasong encampment, before hundreds of angered citizens set alight numerous buildings across the capital, leading to the partial destruction of the Central World Shopping Center.
According to Metropolitan Police Commissioner Lieutenant General Santhan Chayanont, approximately 1,800 police from the Metropolitan and Special Police Bureaus will be deployed to oversee Red Shirt gatherings, mainly focused at the Ratchaprasong Intersection and surrounding areas.
Numerous checkpoints have been organised to inspect participating vehicles and pedestrians for illegal items, including weaponry, while gatherings will be recorded and photographed for later investigation by concerned authorities.
The Red Shirt gatherings, led by activists of the Red Sunday group and key figure Sombat Boonngamanong will reportedly involve numerous merit making ceremonies at the Wat Hua Lampong, Democracy Monument and Ratchaprasong Intersection. The gatherings are expected to start at approximately 10:00am and conclude sometime in the early evening according to announcements from within the Red Shirt organisation.
Meanwhile, both Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva and the Thai army are coming under intense pressure to explain and investigate claims that over 70 rocket propelled grenades and numerous other military weaponry have been stolen from an army base in the central Thai province of Lop Buri earlier this month.
Questioned on the missing weaponry Saturday, the premier insisted that investigations were ongoing, while stating that concerned authorities were tracking numerous suspects thought to be involved in the thefts, insinuating that there was no immediate cause for concern regarding the missing weaponry and planned Red Shirt activities.
“There’re some groups of people who want to see disorder and violence in the country. They appear whenever a mass rally is held while some (movements) appear to be related to politics,” explained the premier before he asked the public to cooperate with the government by informing the authorities of any undesirable movements.