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The Democrats at Ratchaprasong

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The Democrats took over Ratchaprasong for a few hours on Thursday to hold an emotional but incident-free rally. 

Democrat leader and Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva (third from left) and other key Democrat Party figures wave to the crowd as they ended their major election campaign rally at Ratchaprasong intersection about 11pm. PATIPAT JANTHONG

Click button to listen to Democrat rally and rightclick to download

Detoxify nation, PM says

Emotional plea for end to Thaksin tyranny

Lamphai Intathep
Supoj Wancharoen

The election will give people an opportunity to "detoxify" Thaksin Shinawatra poison from the nation, Democrat leader Abhisit Vejjajiva told a mass gathering.

Addressing a crowd of about 30,000 in front of CentralWorld shopping mall at the Ratchaprasong intersection yesterday – a key scene of last year's bloody showdowns between red shirt protesters and security forces – Mr Abhisit said the push for national reconciliation would carry on if the Democrats were returned to office.

He urged voters not to worry about the prospect of further unrest caused by the anti-government red-shirt United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD).

"If you are afraid to vote for No. 10 because you are concerned that the red shirts will not stop [stirring up trouble], people in the whole country will continue to be Thaksin's hostages forever," he said.

Mr Abhisit said his life had changed utterly in the aftermath of the clashes between red shirt protesters and security forces on April 10 last year when 26 people, including five soldiers and 20 civilians and one foreign photographer died.

"I cried for long on April 10. And I knew that no matter what I decided, people would be infuriated.

"But, thanks to my wife, Pimpen, who helped me through this, I was able to press on," Mr Abhisit said.

He did not understand why Pheu Thai Party kept talking about reconciliation now when they and their "big boss" could have fought for it last year before so many people died.

"What were their hearts made of? Why they did not try to protect their supporters whose lives were at risk [during the April-May demonstration]?" Mr Abhisit asked.

The CentralWorld shopping complex, where the crowds assembled yesterday, was one of the buildings torched during the red shirt rally on May 19 last year.

Almost 24,000 people, meanwhile, followed speeches from the stage via Mr Abhisit's Facebook page which broadcast the event live.

Bomb squads and three battalions of crowd control police were stationed at the rally. Red shirt supporters caused no disruptions during the event, which ended at 11pm.

The Pheu Thai Party had earlier told its red shirt supporters not to show up at the rally, which, they said, was a Democrat ploy to instigate unrest and blame it on the red shirts.

The Democrats hope the Ratchaprasong gathering, which will be the party's last major campaign in Bangkok, will help pull in undecided voters.

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key – very important ที่สำคัญ
figure – someone who is important in some way บุคคลสำคัญ
campaign – a planned series of activities designed to persuade voters to vote for a particular candidate or political party การรณรงค์หาสียง
rally – a large public meeting held to support a particular candidate or political party การชุมนุม, ประชุม
intersection – a place where roads, lines, etc., join or cross each other สี่แยก
detoxify – to remove harmful substances or poisons from something ขจัดพิษ, ถอนพิษ
emotional – related to strong feeling such as anger or love, or strong feelings in general  มีอารมณ์
plea – an urgent and emotional request คำร้อง, คำขอ, คำขอร้อง, คำวิงวอน
tyranny – unfair or cruel use of power or authority การใช้อำนาจกดขี่, การข่มเหง
mass – large numbers จำนวนมาก
gathering – a party or a meeting when many people come together as a group การรวมตัว, การประชุม
address – to speak publicly to a group of people  กล่าวปราศรัย
scene – site; a place where something happens or happened สถานที่เกิดเหตุ
showdown – a big fight, meeting, argument, etc. that settles a disagreement between people and proves who is the best or strongest การเผชิญหน้า
protester – someone who shows that they disagree with something by standing somewhere, shouting, carrying signs, etc  ผู้ต่อต้าน, ผู้ประท้วง
reconciliation – a new and friendly relationship with someone who you argued with or fought with การทำให้ปรองดองกันอีก,  การสมานฉันท์
carry on – to continue doing something ดำเนินต่อไป
return to office – to continue in a position of power, especially after an election ดำรงตำแหน่งต่อ
urge – to advise someone very strongly about what action or attitude they should take ผลักดัน, กระตุ้น
prospect – the possibility that something will happen  โอกา , การคาดการณ์
unrest – angry or violent behaviour by people who are protesting or fighting against something สถานการณ์ที่ไม่สง
United Front for Democracy Against Dictatorship (UDD)
– the group originally formed to demonstrate against the 2006 coup and which supported the Somchai Wongsawat government against the PAD and which is now leading the fight against the current government. They are known for wearing red shirts แนวร่วมประชาธิปไตยต่อต้านเผด็จการแห่งชาต
concerned – worried about something   มีความกังวล
stir up – to make someone feel upset or angry ก่อให้เกิดความขุ่นใจ
hostage – a person who is the prisoner of someone ตัวประกัน
forever – for all time in the future, or for as long as you can imagine ตลอดไป
utterly – completely อย่างที่สุด
aftermath – the effects and results of something bad or important ผลที่ตามมา
clash – a fight between groups of people การปะทะกันสองฝ่าย
civilian –someone who does not belong to the armed forces or the police พลเรือน
infuriate – to making someone extremely angry ทำให้โกรธ
press on – to continue doing something in a determined way ทำต่อไป, ดำเนินต่อเนื่อง
at risk – in danger ตกอยู่ในความเสี่ยง
demonstration – an occasion when a large group of people protest about something การชุมนุมประท้วง
complex – a large building with various connected rooms or a related group of buildings
assemble – to bring together and form a group การนำมาร่วมกัน
torch – to deliberately set on fire วางเพลิง
broadcast – to send out a programme on television or radio กระจายเสียง,กระจายข่าว
live – happening now, i.e., not recorded earlier ถ่ายทอดสด
battalion – a large group of soldiers made up of several smaller groups known as companies กองทหาร, กองพันทหาร
station – to cause, especially soldiers, to be in a particular place to do a job ตั้งฐานปฎิบัติการ,ตั้งประจำ
disruption – a situation in which something cannot continue because of a problem การขัดขวาง, การหยุดชะงัก
ploy – something that is done or said in order to get an advantage, often dishonestly วิธีการ,แผน
instigate – to cause something bad to happen; to make something start or happen, usually something official ก่อให้เกิด, กระตุ้น
unrest – angry or violent behaviour by people who are protesting or fighting against something สถานการณ์ที่ไม่สงบ
gathering – a party or a meeting when many people come together as a group การรวมตัว, การประชุม

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