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“Let them (supporters of the government) come to Bangkok and try to unleash a civil war. Let’s see, who will manage to gather more people,” protesters’ leader Suthep Thaugsuban stated Thursday night, addressing to his backers, who since January 13 continue blocking several crossroads in the Thai capital.
The challenge thrown out by Thaugsuban became an improvised answer to announced plans of the pro-government Red Shirts to mobilize about 600 thousand volunteers in the nearest time “for defending democracy”.
According to one of the movement’s leaders Suphon Attawong, volunteers may sign up from March 1. All participants of this movement will undergo a special training.
In gathering fighters, the Red Shirts put special emphasis on Northern provinces, where the major part of the population supports the current government. “The anti-government movement in Thailand aims at destroying democracy and removing people from power. If they succeed, this would lead to a civil war. We should be ready,” Suphon Attawong said.
Meanwhile, the Thai opposition understands the term “democracy” as restricting the right to vote for “the poor and uneducated, whose votes are easily bought by populist politicians”.
Participants of protest rallies in Bangkok again intend to continue their actions with blocking ministries and state agencies. The building of the National Anti-Corruption Committee remains blocked for the third day. However, this building has been besieged not by oppositionists, but by Red Shirts. They demand the resignation of the committee’s members, accusing them of “heating” the opposition.
On Thursday, the National Anti-Corruption Committee officially accused Yingluck Shinawatra of negligence in connection with the state collateral rice purchase from farmers, which, as the committee’s experts believe, hampered the country’s economy and led to a debt to agricultural producers exceeding $4 billion. Yingluck Shinawatra who was summoned to the National Anti-Corruption Committee session to face accusations sent her representatives instead. She should provide exculpatory evidence until March 14, and the committee will continue reviewing the case. In case the committee accounts her guilty, the case would be handed to the Supreme Court of Thailand.