Ayutthaya reds outnumber white masks

AYUTTHAYA — About 100 white-mask members from the anti-government V For Thailand group were forced to change their planned rally venue at the last minute late on Sunday afternoon after more than 500 red shirts occupied the area.

The supporters of the white-mask movement originally announced they would hold their weekly protest against the Yingluck Shinawatra administration at the office of Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya Municipality, but at about 4pm changed the venue to the front of the provincial hall after they were outnumbered by the red shirts who staged a counter-rally against them. The red shirts were lead by Somsong Sappakosolkul, mayor of Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya municipality.

Kalyani Juprang, coordinator of the white mask group in Ayutthaya, said the group decided to move the protest to another location to avoid a possible confrontation. The group will stage a protest at Government House if they continue to be threatened by the red shirts and their freedom of expression is violated. 

About 200 police officers were deployed to both venues to prevent a confrontation between the two rival groups and stop any interference by a third party in the former capital, now considered a stronghold of the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD).

Mr Somsong addressed the UDD group, saying there was no room for the white mask mob in the province, only for the red-shirt brothers and sisters.    

On comments that he was a keen supporter and part of the Thaksin Shinawatra power clique, he said he had become more than just a Thaksin loyalist because the former prime minister was his "sworn brother". 

He accused the V For Thailand group of being backed by the opposition Democrat Party. The mayor emphasised that those who were eligible to administer the country must be elected by the majority of Thais.

Mr Somsong later led the crowd to Rajamangala Institute of Technology Suvarnabhumi where a large number of UDD loyalists were gathering. Unconfirmed reports said UDD key leaders such as Jatuporn Promphan and Nattawut Saikuar may meet with their supporters at the institute. The venue will be used for a mobile cabinet meeting next month.  

Mrs Kalyani said Mr Somsong and other government supporters should respect those who are opposed to the Yingluck administration. “Although people think we have fewer voices than those of the supporters of Pheu Thai, we still have every right under a democracy to express our opinion,” she added. 

Related search: white mask, V For Thailand, UDD, red shirt, Ayutthaya

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