Yellow shirt somsak joins pitak siam bid to oust govt

Former core yellow-shirt leader Somsak Kosaisuk will take part in the Pitak Siam Group's anti-government protest at the Royal Plaza next weekend, leader Gen Boonlert Kaewprasit said yesterday.

Mr Somsak was one of five key leaders of the People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD), which protested against then-prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra before the administration was toppled by the 2006 coup.

The PAD later succeeded in helping to oust the Thaksin-aligned People Power Party-led government in 2008.

Mr Somsak left the PAD last year and now leads the New Politics Party.

Gen Boonlert confirmed that Mr Somsak's participation in the rally.

Pitak Siam spokesman Watchara Ritthakhanee insisted next Saturday's protest would not lead to violence. The rally would be peaceful and not prolonged, he said.

It would be immediately terminated if things get out of control, he said.

AM Watchara also said armed forces chiefs have expressed opposition to the invocation of the Internal Security Act.

The government should not interfere in the expression of political views, AM Watchara said.

The PAD will stage a rally at Saphan Hin in Phuket's Muang district today.

Several PAD factions in the South are expected to participate in the Phuket demonstration, which will be led by Chamlong Srimuang.

Opposition leader Abhisit Vejjajiva yesterday said the government attempted to stoke public fear over the Pitak Siam rally to divert attention from the parliament's looming censure motion.

Mr Abhisit also said many people believe there is no reason to apply the Internal Security Act.

Pitak Siam's first rally, at the Royal Turf Club last month, did not lead to any trouble, he said.

"The government should directly talk with the demonstrators and not incite the red shirt movement [to counter with a rally of its own]," Mr Abhisit said.

Meanwhile, Pheu Thai MP for Bangkok Jirayu Huangsap said the public should not be worried about the possible implementation of the Internal Security Act.

Authorities would be empowered to check for weapons at the rally, he said.

The red shirt United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD), which supports the Pheu Thai Party, has said its members would stay away from the Royal Plaza area on Saturday.

However, red shirts in Nonthaburi, Samut Prakan and Pathum Thani have announced rallies in their provinces on the same day as the Pitak Siam protest.

The UDD leader in Chiang Mai, Pol Sen Sgt Maj Phichit Tamun, yesterday said more than 20,000 people in the northern provinces would join a rally in Chiang Mai municipality on Thursday.

The group is ready to move into Bangkok if Pitak Siam obstructs the government's work, he said.

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