Thai government not sweating rally targeting its seat of power: deputy PM

“14 years have passed after stealing the people’s power. The country is going down and you still shamelessly say you’re a good person” read a sign at a 19 Sept. protest at Sanam Luang, referring to the 2006 coup that ousted former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra.
“14 years have passed after stealing the people’s power. The country is going down and you still shamelessly say you’re a good person” read a sign at a 19 Sept. protest at Sanam Luang, referring to the 2006 coup that ousted former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra.

A pro-democracy rally aimed at shutting down and ousting the government Wednesday won’t draw many participants, according to one of its top members.

Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan today said that he wasn’t worried about rally organizers’ plans to surround his regime’s seat of power, the Government House, citing a number of groups that have decided not to attend.

“I want to understand them because I don’t think many people will come,” he said. Despite that confidence, the government has reportedly doubled the security personnel assigned to the event.

Redshirt groups in the south and northeast have announced they won’t participate in the rally set to begin at the Democracy Monument after the People’s Group, a collective representing pro-democracy elements nationwide, said the issue of reforming the monarchy would be pressed along with dissolving the current government and rewriting the constitution.

Prawit added that organizers have refused to meet with government representatives.

“I want to talk to them, but they won’t talk to me,” Prawit said.

Movement leader Parit “Penguin” Chiwarak told Coconuts Bangkok today that they have rejected dialog with top officials they consider “criminals” and would find out Wednesday how many people show up.

“We don’t have a policy to have any discussions with criminals,” he said. “Thank you deputy PM Prawit for the free PR. People will want to join more.”

Prawit said security measures have been prepared to avoid violence. He added that he would like to have a conversation with the organizers.

The last mass rally that took place last month drew tens of thousands of participants to the Sanam Luang, where speakers denounced the monarchy and called for its reform.  Led by the United Front of Thammasat and Demonstration, they also placed a plaque declaring a new era of self rule three years after one commemorating the 1932 democratic revolt was removed. The new “People’s Plaque” was removed the next day.

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