Published: 8/05/2010 at 12:00 AM
Newspaper section: News
May announce today when protest will end
The United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship has confirmed its backing of Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva's reconciliation road map and it may announce today when it will disperse its rally at Ratchaprasong intersection.
The red shirts also ignored the moves by their rival, the yellow shirt People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD) and the multi-coloured group, which came out to oppose the road map.
"They [PAD and multi-coloured group] are not our problem. It is Mr Abhisit's problem which he must deal with by himself," said Natthawut Saikua, a UDD co-leader.
"For us, we confirm that we will join the prime minister's road map and will not change our mind. This [the road map to a new election] is not our victory and not the government's either but it is a victory of the Thai people which will get us through this political crisis," he said.
Mr Natthawut said he and the other red shirt leaders would discuss today when and whether the UDD end its rally, which began on March 12.
Charter changes pose hurdle for govt's reconciliation plan
Tackling plight of the elderly
"We will announce our road map today. We might demand the government revoke the emergency decree. We insist that we're not trying to buy time. But this issue [ending the rally] is not about the UDD leaders alone. It's related to red shirt people all around the country," said Mr Natthawut.
"Still, the UDD leaders will not seek amnesties for the various allegations that have been laid against us by the government, including terrorist acts and plotting to topple the monarchy," Mr Natthawut said.
Nevertheless, the UDD also wanted to see important figures in the government who had been involved in the April 10 clashes stand trial in court as well, Mr Natthawut added.
The UDD would also call for all parties involved in the next general election to commit to the public that they would unconditionally accept the poll results.
The PAD, which led its yellow shirt supporters to lay siege to Suvarnabhumi and Don Mueang airports and Government House almost two years ago, announced they would oppose Mr Abhisit's reconciliation plan and called on the government to declare martial law to end the red shirt rally instead.
Maj Gen Chamlong Srimuang, a PAD leader, has demanded that Mr Abhisit resign as prime minister if he insists on proceeding with his road map.
In the meantime, Tul Sitthisomwong, the leader of the multi-coloured group, yesterday visited Mr Abhisit to voice the group's opposition to the premier's plan to dissolve parliament and call a general election on Nov 14.
Dr Tul said after the meeting he understood the prime minister's reasoning behind his reconciliation road map, but he wanted the House dissolution to be deferred.
"We agree with the five measures of the reconciliation road map. They're what the government has to do to restore peace in the country," he said.
But Dr Tul said he wanted to see the government take action according to the five measures of the road map. If any websites or community radio stations publicised lese majeste content, the government should take action against them and inform the public.
Dr Tul said the implementation of all five measures in the reconciliation road map would be time consuming. Mr Abhisit should not try to shorten the implementation time because of pressure from the red shirts as this would set a bad precedent for the future.
Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban urged both the PAD and UDD to help ease the situation and find ways out for the country.
Mr Suthep said it is clear the prime minister would dissolve the House between 45 and 60 days prior to the next poll as required by the constitution.
Meanwhile, army chief Anupong Paojinda has ordered all army units around the country to accommodate Mr Abhisit's reconciliation plan.
Deputy army spokeswoman Sirichan Ngathong said yesterday Gen Anupong handed down the order in his capacity as deputy director of the Internal Security Operations Command (Isoc).
All army units are also obliged to accommodate the reconciliation road map as they are parts of the Isoc, said Col Sirichan.
An army source said Gen Anupong still believes that political problems must be solved via political means, while soldiers should help in building up understanding among the public in order to ease the rifts in society.