Opposition and Democrat Party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva is demanding the government take responsibility if violence erupts at the Pitak Siam anti-government rally this Saturday.
Mr Abhisit said Tuesday the government claimed it knew of some parties who planned to create untoward incidents during the protest and, if it was aware of this, then it should take action to prevent violence.
Mr Abhisit was referring to remarks by Deputy Prime Minister Chalerm Yubamrung and Lt Gen Paradon Pattanathaboot, secretary-general of the National Security Council (NSC), that thousands of "fake red shirts" might be used to create incidents during the rally.
Mr Abhisit said if the government was aware anything untoward was going to happen, its duty was to ensure order.
- EDITORIAL: Hands off the rally
The opposition leader also said it was strange for government authorities to make a claim about a fake red-shirt movement ahead of the rally, to be held at the Royal Plaza.
Mr Abhisit added that ousted prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra seemed to be urging his red-shirt supporters to make a move in response to the Pitak Siam rally.
Democrat list-MP Ong-art Klampaibul yesterday criticised Lt Gen Paradon for mentioning the claim that fake red-shirt demonstrators were being deployed.
He said Lt Gen Paradon was acting as if he was the spokesman for the red-shirt United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship rather than the NSC secretary-general.
Democrat spokesman Chavanond Intarakomalyasut yesterday accused the government of trying to block people from joining the Pitak Siam rally.
He said the attempts included threats to local government officials and passenger bus and van operators in other provinces.
Meanwhile, the ruling Pheu Thai Party is preparing to deal with the rally.
Deputy government spokesman Pakdihan Himathongkam said Mr Chalerm has a nine-stage plan to handle the demonstration, nine Pheu Thai ministers are on standby to decide whether to use a special law to contain the protest, and 5,000-8,000 police will be deployed to protect Government House and important documents there.
The nine ministers are Mr Chalerm, Deputy Prime Minister Plodprasop Suraswadi, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Surapong Tovichakchaikul, Deputy Prime Minister and Education Minister Pongthep Thepkanchana, PM's Office Minister Varathep Rattanakorn, Interior Minister Jarupong Ruangsuwan, Defence Minister Sukumpol Suwanatat, Deputy Transport Minister Prin Suwanatat and Justice Minister Pracha Promnok.
Mr Pakdihan said demonstrators would be brought from many provinces including Ratchaburi, Si Sa Ket, Samut Songkhram and Surin.
Pheu Thai member Singthong Buachum and Pheu Thai lawyers yesterday filed a complaint with the Crime Suppression Division against Pitak Siam leader Boonlert Kaewprasit and others.
They accused Gen Boonlert of treason and illegal assembly for announcing the staging of the anti-government demonstration.
Also accused were Maj Gen Chamlong Srimuang, a leader of the People's Alliance for Democracy, Sqn Ldr Prasong Soonsiri, a former constitution drafter, political activist Dr Tul Sitthisomwong and communications academic Seri Wongmontha.
Deputy Commerce Minister and red-shirt leader Nattawut Saikuar said yesterday the anti-government rally would not be able to overthrow the government in one day without a "special situation".
He noted that such a special situation could happen with support from the party that had overthrown the past governments of Thaksin, Samak Sundaravej and Somchai Wongsawat.
Deputy Interior Minister Pracha Prasopdee claimed a big group of construction material producers and politicians were hiring people for 1,500-2,000 baht each to join the rally.
Pitak Siam spokesman AM Watchara Ritthakhanee insisted yesterday the planned rally would be peaceful.
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Writer: Manop Thip-Osod & Patsara Jikkham