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Big rally turnout surprises govt

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Siam Pitak leaders were pleased while Government leaders were surprised at the size of the crowd at yesterday's anti-government rally which some estimated to be as high as 20,000. 

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Anti-government protest groups turn up in force at the Royal Turf Club in the Nang Loeng area. The Pitak Siam group, the rally’s organiser, claimed the event drew 20,000 people, while police estimates put the number at a more modest 6,000. PATIPAT JANTHONG


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Big rally turnout surprises govt

Siam Pitak group plans to escalate protest action

Pradit Ruangdit,
King-Oua Laohong
Wassana Nanuam

Buoyed by what it calls a big turnout, the Siam Pitak group is planning to hold its next rally against the Pheu Thai-led government within a month.

Gen Boonlert Kaewprasit, a retired officer and the core organiser, believes the campaign is gathering momentum.

"A fresh rally will take place in a month," he said.

"We will assess the number of participants to see if we will move from the Royal Turf Club in Nang Loeng. It may be too small."

The large crowd is seen as a slap in the face for Deputy Prime Minister Chalerm Yubamrung, who estimated the protest number at 1,500-2,000.

The rally organiser, based on the registration book, claimed the crowd swelled to 20,000 while the city police gave an estimate of 6,000.

The event drew various anti-government groups including the multi-coloured-shirts led by Tul Sitthisomwong, former members of the Communist Party of Thailand, and supporters of the opposition Democrat Party.

Despite the absence of yellow shirt leaders, the Dhamma Army which is closely linked with yellow shirt leader Maj Gen Chamlong Srimuang, turned up in force.

(Left) Sqn Ldr Prasong Soonsiri, former secretary-general of the National Security Council, who spoke at the rally and core organiser Gen Boonlert Kaewprasit. THITI WANNAMONTHA

The rally kicked off with Gen Boonlert reading a statement with a pledge to fight off the anti-monarchy movement and expel the government.

In his address, Sqn Ldr Prasong Soonsiri, former secretary-general of the National Security Council, asked the crowd to help head off five crises under the Yingluck administration: the debt crisis arising from populist policy; nepotism in national administration; escalating violence in the deep South and territorial disputes with Cambodia; absence of the rule of law; and the prime minister's leadership crisis.

Siam Pitak Sunday also launched a sign-up campaign seeking to enlist 1 million voters. The group plans to submit a petition to the government demanding it step down.

The rally ended about 7pm without incident.

Surachai Sirikrai, a political scientist from Thammasat University, said the big turnout reflected people's frustrations toward the government.

He said the movement could grow.

"It could be the Thai Spring because people are gaining more access to information," he said, noting that some red shirts might have defected.

According to Mr Surachai, the latest cabinet shake-up indicated the government put personal interest before the public interest.

Thaikorn Polsuwan, who led a group of northeastern people to join the rally, said the huge crowd was a slap in the face for Mr Chalerm.

He said organisers were split over the strategy, with one side wanting several small rallies, while the other wanted to make it quick.

While admitting the large crowd was a surprise, Mr Chalerm insisted the campaign would not gain any momentum. "They really have nothing with which to topple the government," he said. "Moreover, the army chief has distanced himself from the campaign. Once the military turns its back on you, that's the end of the story," he said.

Air Force commander ACM Prajin Jantong rejected Gen Boonlert's call for the military to join the campaign. "We support royal initiatives, handle security threats... and help with the government's national development work. We don't get involved in politics," he said.

turn up – to come somewhere มาถึง
in force – (of people) in large numbers (of people) จำนวนมาก
Royal Turf Club – a large horse racing facility under Royal Patronage (ในพระบรมราชูปถัมภ์) in the Nang Loeng area of Bangkok  สนามม้านางเลิ้ง
rally – a large public gathering of people to support someone or to protest against something การชุมนุม
claim – to say that something is true although it has not been proved and other people may not believe it อ้าง
draw – to attract or interest somebody, often to cause them to go somewhere ดึงดูดความสนใจ
estimate – an amount that you guess or calculate using the information available ประมาณการ
modest – not large in size or amount ไม่มากมาย
escalate – to become much more serious or much stronger ทำให้เพิ่มขึ้น, ทำให้มกขึ้น
protest – a strong complaint or disagreement การประท้วง
buoy – to encourage someone and make them feel more confident   ให้กำลังใจ
turnout – the number of people who come to an event or take part in an activity  ผู้ที่เข้าร่วม
retired – no longer working because you have reached the age where you are officially too old to work เกษียณอายุ
core – the most active or most important members of a group แกนนำ
campaign – a series of actions intended to produce political or social change การรณรงค์
momentum – progress or development that is becoming faster or stronger  แรงผลักดัน
assess – to carefully consider a situation, person, or problem in order to make a judgment ประเมิณสถานการณ์
participant – someone who takes part in something ผู้เข้าร่วม
slap – a quick hit with the flat part of the hand ตบ
registration – the process of recording names or information on an official list การขึ้นทะเบียน, การลงทะเบียน
swell – to increase in size or number เพิ่มจำนวน, เพิ่มขนาด, เพิ่มปริมาณ
the opposition – the political party or parties that are not part of the government ฝ่ายค้าน
absence – not being present ไม่ปรากฏตัว
linked – connected เชื่อมต่อ เชื่อมโยง
kick off – to begin an event; to launch เริ่มต้น, เริ่มทำ
pledge – a serious promise คำมั่้นสัญญา
monarchy – a type of government in which a country is ruled by a king or queen  การปกครองที่มีพระมหากษัตริย์เป็นประมุข
expel – to force someone to leave ขับไล่,ไล่ออก
address – a formal speech  คำปราศรัย
head off –  to prevent something from taking place  กัน, กีดขวาง, คลาดแคล้ว
crises (plural of crisis) – urgent, difficult or dangerous situations  วิกฤตการณ์ administration – the government of a country รัฐบาล
debt – an amount of money that you owe หนี้
arise – to happen as a result of a particular situation  เกิดขึ้น
populist – related to the type of politics that claims to represent the opinions and wishes of ordinary people or to support programmes that will benefit the ordinary people ประชานิยม
policy – a set of plans or action agreed on by a government, political party, business, or other group นโยบาย
nepotism – the practice of using your power and influence to give jobs to people in your family instead of to people who deserve to have them คติเห็นแก่ญาติ  การเล่นพรรคเล่นพวก
violence – physical force with the deliberate intention of causing damage to property or injury or death to people ความรุนแรง, การใช้กำลังทำลาย
territorial dispute – a disagreement over who owns a particular area of land or sea
enlist – to ask for and get help or support from someone  ขอความช่วยเหลือ
submit a petition – to formally give a document signed by many people to someone in power asking them to do something ยื่นคำร้อง
demand – to ask for something very firmly เรียกร้อง, ต้องการ
incident – something that happens, usually something bad เหตุการณ์
reflect – to show สะท้อน แสดงถึง
frustration – an annoyed or discouraged feeling because you cannot do or have what you want ความผิดหวัง,  ความไม่พอใจ
Thai Spring – from Arab Spring in which the people in several countries carried out protests or rebellions (การกบถ) to throw out their governments
defect – to leave one group (usually to join another) ออกจากกลุ่ม
cabinet – the group of government ministers who make and approve government policy คณะรัฐมนตรี
cabinet shakeup – changing one or more members of the cabinet การปรับคณะรัฐมนตรี
indicate – to show that something is true, exists or will happen แสดง, ทำให้รู้
split – to divide; break apart  แตกแยก
strategy – a plan or method for achieving something, especially over a long period of time ยุทธวิธี, แผนการ 
admit – to agree that something is true, especially when you are unhappy, sorry or surprised about it  ยอมรับ
insist – to keep saying very firmly that something is true ยืนกราน ยืนยัน
topple – to cause to fall  คว่ำลงมา
distance – to become, or to make somebody/something become, less involved or connected with somebody/something ถอยห่าง
commander – the head of large military unit ผู้บังคับบัญชา
reject – to not agree with ปฏิเสธ ไม่ยอมรับ
initiative – a new action or movement, often intended to solve a problem ความคิดริเริ่ม
security – protection; safety from attack, harm, or damage ความมั่นคง, ระบบรักษาความปลอดภั, ความปลอดภัย
threat – a danger อันตราย
development – the gradual growth of something so that it becomes more advanced, stronger, etc การพัฒนา
involved – taking part or having a role in something เกี่ยวข้อง

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