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The red-shirt movement is showing new signs of life as the fourth anniversary of the 2006 coup which ousted former PM Thaksin Shinawatra approaches. 

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A heavily armed soldier uses binoculars to observe a nearby high-rise from the front of Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva’s residence on Sukhumvit Soi 31. APICHIT JINAKUL

With most of their key leaders in jail or in hiding, the red-shirt movement has been rather quiet since the end of their mass protest in Bangkok last May.

That is about to change. The fourth anniversary of the coup that ousted former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra falls on Sunday and big red-shirt rallies are expected in a number of areas.

One red-shirt supporter who has been active over the past four months, Somyos Prueksakasemsuk, will be travelling to Chiang Mai with several other leading red-shirt figures.

Mr Somyot, who has been leading peaceful rallies each Sunday, says they will submit their demands to government representatives there.

The red shirts want the government to release 17 detained red-shirt members from Bangkok Special Prison and will demand sweeping economic, judicial and land reforms. A mass rally at the provincial stadium is planned for Sunday.

‘‘Chiang Mai is no longer under the emergency decree. It is a stronghold of red-shirt supporters.

‘‘That’s why we chose it to organise our activities,’’ said Mr Somyos.

Mr Somyos said about 1,000 red shirts will also gather in Bangkok at Ratchaprasong intersection on Sunday to float thousands of balloons to mark the fourth anniversary of the coup.

There will be no political speeches at the Bangkok rally because the emergency decree is still in force in the capital.

Meanwhile, security is being stepped up at prisons where red-shirt leaders are being held. Many red-shirt members are expected to turn up to demand their release.

Chartchai Sutthiklom, director-general of the Corrections Department, said he has ordered security to be tightened at prisons in Bangkok, Udon Thani and Ubon Ratchathani.

Some supporters are expected to converge at Bangkok Special Prison today.

Mr Chartchai said 252 prisoners allegedly involved in the political unrest have been jailed at 17 prisons nationwide.

Adapted from a story in today’s Bangkok Post. You can read the original story here:

armed – carrying a weapon  ติดอาวุธ
high-rise – a building is very tall with many floors or levels อาคาร ซึ่งมีหลายชั้น
residence – a place where someone lives ที่พำนัก ที่อาศัย
movement – a group of people who share the same aim and work together to achieve it การเคลื่อนไหวเพื่อวัตถุประสงค์ทางการเมือง
mass – large numbers จำนวนมาก, รวมกันหนาแน่น
protest – a meeting or action, sometimes forceful or violent, by people who strongly disagree with something ชุมนุมประท้วง
anniversary – a date when you celebrate or remember something that happened in a previous year that is important to you วันครบรอบ
coup (d’etat) – the seizure of power in a country by a group of people, usually members of the armed forces รัฐประหาร
ousted – forced out of a position of power ขับออกจากอำนาจ
rally – a large public gathering of people to support someone or to protest against something การชุมนุม
figure – someone who is important in some way บุคคลสำคัญ
submit – to formally give something to someone so that can make a decision about it ยื่น (เอกสาร) เพื่อการพิจารณา
release – to allow someone to go free ปล่อยตัว
detain – to keep someone in a police station or prison and not allow them to leave กักตัว ควบคุมตัวหรือฝากขัง
sweeping – having a major effect  กว้างขวาง
judicial – relating to the courts of law ในชั้นศาล
reform – a change that is intended to correct a situation that is wrong or unfair การแก้ไข การปฏิรูป
emergency decree – a situation where the government takes on special powers in a dangerous situation and the rights of the people are often limited in some way ประกาศภาวะฉุกเฉิน  source
stronghold – an area where there is a lot of support for a political party or other group  ฐานเสียง, ฐานที่มั่น, ขุมกำลัง
intersection – a place where roads, lines, etc., join or cross each other สี่แยก
mark – to show respect for or to remember ระลึกถึง
meanwhile – at the same time ในเวลาเดียวกัน
step up – to increase เพิ่ม
Corrections Department – the government department in charge of running prisons กรมราชทัณฑ์
converge – to come from different directions to reach the same point ไปยังจุดหมายเดียวกัน
allegedly – claimed to have done something wrong, but not yet proven ที่กล่าวหา
unrest – angry or violent behaviour by people who are protesting or fighting against something สถานการณ์ที่ไม่สงบ
nationwide – throughout a whole country  ทั่วทั้งประเทศ

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