The red-shirt protest against the Constitution Court appeared to be faltering Tuesday after the ruling Pheu Thai Party and other red-shirt groups distanced themselves from the rally.
A Pheu Thai Party source said the protest, led by the Radio Broadcasters for Democracy movement, lacked cooperation from major figures in the party who have a key role in mobilising supporters in the provinces.
The protest is expected to end shortly since it is estimated the turnout will fall short of the 100,000 that the movement wanted, the source said.
However, about 18 police companies, or about 2,700 riot police, will be deployed to handle protesters at the court and state agencies nearby, Deputy Metropolitan Police chief Parinya Chansuriya said Tuesday.
The source said a Pheu Thai committee overseeing political strategies chaired by former prime minister Somchai Wongsawat met Tuesday.
The committee voiced disapproval at the intimidation and threats made by the movement's leaders against the charter court judges. The panel wanted the group to end their rally Wednesday, the source said.
Several other red-shirt groups were to boycott the gathering as they were reluctant to pay travel expenses for protesters from the provinces, the source said.
Udon Thani red-shirt leader Kwanchai Praipana said Tuesday his group's members would also not be joining the rally.
A source close to the leaders of the Radio Broadcasters for Democracy movement said a key Pheu Thai figure had urged them to call it off immediately.
Pheu Thai MP for Samut Prakan Prasert Chaikit, who is the group's chief adviser, had earlier failed to persuade movement leaders Pongpisit Kongsena and Lek Bandon, to stop the protest on April 30, the source said.
The group wants to gather 100,000 people at the court on Chaeng Watthana Road Wednesday to press its judges to resign.
All chance of attracting 100,000 protesters to the Constitution Court on Wednesday appeared gone by Tuesday evening, with only sparse crowds at the main rally point. (Bangkok Post photo)
Deputy Prime Minister Chalerm Yubamrung said Tuesday there was no need to invoke the Internal Security Act to deal with the protesters.
He did not believe the rally will get out of hand easily and said it was not easy to mobilise up to 100,000 people.
The red shirts have been protesting since April 22 to force the charter court's nine judges to step down after the court decided on April 3 to accept a petition by Senator Somchai Sawaengkarn. The senator had asked the court to rule on the legality of an attempt by 312 MPs and senators to amend Section 68 of the constitution.
Meanwhile, Sornrak Malaithong, another protest leader, Tuesday submitted a letter to the charter court demanding the three judges who voted to accept Sen Somchai's petition step down. The court voted three to two to accept the complaint.
A source at the Constitution Court said the judges will arrive for work as usual Wednesday.
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