Mass rallies continue, marches set for today
published : 25 Nov 2013 at 08:11
writer: Terry Fredrickson
Huge crowds flocked to the anti-government rally at Democracy Monument (photo) yesterday and marches have taken place all day today. As night falls, two ministries are in protester hands. Meanwhile pro-government red-shirts hold their own mass rally at Rajamangala stadium.
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By afternoon yesterday, the huge crowd stretched from Sanam Luang (right) alway the way to a distant Democracy Monument (far left) and beyond. SITHIKORN WONGWUDTHIANUN
As night fell, another group of protesters, this time members of the Network of Students and People for Reform of Thailand, occupied a second ministry, the Foreign Ministry. They promised not to go inside the buildings themselves and said this was a warning to foreign countries not to deal with the Yingluck government.
Members of the Network of Students and People for Reform of Thailand make themselves comfortable inside the compound of the Foreign Ministry. PATTARAPONG CHATPATTARASILL
Suthep Thuagsuban talks to the media at the Finance Ministry
Here is more on the takeover of the Finance Ministry:
At the offices of the Budget Bureau and the Finance Ministry, anti-government protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban instructed the protesters to go into the offices.
Mr Suthep told them to go to every floor, enter every room, give flowers to civil servants and just sit still. He told them not to damage state property as that was paid for by taxpayers' money.
"I ask civil servants to stand side-by-side with the civilians.
"The Budget Bureau and the Finance Ministry are the heart of the Thaksin regime so we'll seize them from today onwards. I ask the people to enter peacefully, and we'll show what the true power of the people is.
"If they [the government] don't surrender, we'll occupy all the ministries," the former Democrat Party MP said.
Sorayuth talks to protesters outside Channel 3.
March leaders at Channel 3 had difficulty getting protesters to leave. They insisted on hearing from well known news presenter Sorayuth Suthassanachinda for a second time. Many do not believe he has been reporting fairly. March leaders made protesters promise to leave if Sorayuth addressed them. After a lengthy wait, Sorayuth came down and promised to report fairly, but faced a rather difficult crowd. He encouraged them to continue express their views in a peaceful way. He was presented with roses and a whistle as he left.
Pol Maj Gen Piya Uthayo spokesman for the Centre for the Administration of Peace and Order (CAPO) says the situation is in general well under control except for the Finance Ministry which protesters have illegally occupied, cut electricity and "forced" out those working there (strongly disputed by Blue Sky TV presenters.) He also said the protesters had weapons with them.
Not surprisingly, the DSI headquarters also received a visit from whistle-blowing protesters. PATTANAPONG HIRUNARD.
In an incident at the protest outside metropolitan police headquarters that is sure to get international attention, well-known foreign journalist Nick Nostitz who has covered Thai political protests for many years was attacked by protest guards. He apparently got into an argument with a guard who was preventing him from taking photos and was then accused of being a red-shirt supporter. That quickly put him under attack but he was helped out of harms way by police. He has filed a complaint with police.
Mr Suthep has entered the Finance Ministry and is apparently trying to find out if the minister Kittirat Na Ranong is in the building. A Bluesky TV reporter confirms that electricity has been cut to parts of the building.
Meanwhile, here's an update on the situation at national police headquarters from our online reporters.
Anti-government demonstrators who walked to the Royal Thai Police head office on Rama 1 road in Ratchaprasong area demanded a meeting with national police chief Adul Saengsingkaew, but were told he was in a meeting at Government House.
The group of marchers led by former Bangkok MPs Phutthipong Punnakan arrived at the national police office, where they were joined by large numbers of supporters who made their own way there. As the crowd grew they blocked Rama 1 road and occupied the skywalk linking Siam Paragon and CentralWorld.
The police sent Pol Gen Udom Raksilatham out to negotiate with the crowd. He said the police chief was at Government House. Mr Phutthipong sought the agreement of the protest supporters, who said they would wait and meet only with Pol Gen Adul.
The protesters remained in front of the national police office as of 2pm.
14:20 All of a sudden there is what could be a major development, according to Blue Sky TV. Rally leader Suthep Thuagsuban's crowd is entering and taking over the Budget department, a vital government centre, he says. He tells them to not to destroy anything. Latest: Electricity has been cut to the Budget department and Finance Ministry and civil servants are leaving.
Meanwhile, there is a very large police presence near Wat Bavorn Niwet to counter an attempt at taking over Government House.
And at the Metropolitan police headquarters, Chumpol is still calling for the police chief (Kamronwit) to come out. Otherwise they the protesters won't leave, he says. His language is no longer so polite.
A big crowd nears national police headquarters. SOMCHAI POOMLARD
It looks like former Democrat MP Puttipong Punnakan for Bangkok who is leading the march to the national police headquarters might have a fan club. SOMCHAI POOMLARD.
Another group has reached on of the media targets, Thai TV Channel 3. Photo from Democrat MP Sirichok Sopha's Facebook page.
The speaker outside Channel 3 asks the station to be neutral, not another government channel under the Department of Public Relations. The sign behind the speaker says "Elected Dictatorship in not democracy."
12:20 After a cabinet meeting the Prime Minister says she has no intention of resigning or dissolving parliament. Meanwhile, Suthep Thuagsuban has reached the Budget Bureau where he demanded the whole cabinet resign and asked for the support of civil servants inside. Outside Metropolitan Police headquarters it is a waiting game. Leaders are refusing to leave until city police chief Lt.Gen Kamronwit meets with them. Thai PBS reports, however, he is not in the building. At Army headquarters another group, led by Ekkanat Prompan is also waiting for a response from Gen Prayuth. It's been silence so far.
Here is more on the situation at the Metropolitan Police headquarters from Bangkok Post online reporters:
Chumphon MP Chumpol Pholsai leads supporters to the MPB office on Ratchasima road PATTARAPONG CHATPATTARASILL
Chumphon MP Chumpol Pholsai led supporters to the MPB office on Ratchasima road about 10am, but they did not get to meet metropolitan police chief chief Kamronwit Thoopkrachang, who was said to be busy somewhere else.
Then a senior police officer threatened marchers with arrest, warning that the area was under the the Internal Security Act, the crowd became restive and angry. Cries of "Jai yen, jai yen (keep cool, keep cool)," were heard coming from leaders.
Mr Chumpol later spoke from a mobile stage saying that the demonstrators came with good hearts and the police on duty were paid to guard the office.
He said it was heart-touching that people who burned the city (in 2010) get 7.5 million baht compensation, but soldiers and police stationed in the restive provinces of the deep South get only a small amount.
The two sides held discussions and eventually the demonstrators were allowed to present flowers and whistles.
11:00 At Metropolitan Police headquarters a high-ranking officer (not Lt-Gen Kamronwit) has come out to receive flowers from women in front of police lines. The area is very crowded but the atmosphere seems more relaxed than it was. The rally leader calls the officers, "police of the people" Meanwhile, Suthep Thuagsuban's procession, probably the biggest of the 13, continues, without incident, the six kilometre walk to the Budget Bureau. They are presently walking on Rama 6. Blue Sky TV reports people are waiting at various TV channels for their processions to arrive.
10:15 A very long rally procession has been stopped before getting to the Metropolitan Police headquarters and a very public, noisy and emotional negotiation is going on between leaders on a soundtruck and police. Protest leaders want to talk to the boss Lt. General Kamronwit. (10:27 The standoff continues only noisier.)
From Blue Sky TV at metropolitan police headquarters
9:30 Most of the 13 groups have now started their marches, with surprising large numbers of people in each. Thai PBS reports that about three groups are still waiting to leave. There are also groups of protesters waiting at each destination. There was special interest at TV Channel 5 where Prime Minister Yingluck Shinwatra was supposed to arrive to tape a birthday message for His Majesty the King. Blue Sky TV has just reported that the marches are taken 25 different routes. Thai PBS reports that visit has now been cancelled. Meanwhile, at Rajamangala, red-shirt leaders are on stage commenting on the day's events, saying the marches will not succeed in creating any changes. They say they tried the same tactics against the Abhisit government and failed.
A smiling Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra arrives at Government House about 9:30 this morning. It may not be so easy to leave as several groups of protestors are in the area now. CHANAT KATANYU
8:55 The marches have started from Democracy Monument. They appear to have had some minor difficulties getting a clear path out of the area, but the marches are on.
From Bluesky TV at 9:00
Tens of thousands join anti-government rally
An aerial shot just above Democracy Monument. SITHIKORN WONGWUDTHIANUN
By Sunday afternoon, Ratchdamnoen Avenue, where the Democracy Monument is located, was packed with at least 100,000 people, according to police estimates. A military intelligence unit estimated 150,000 people were there.
Many had come from the provinces, mostly the South, where the opposition Democrat Party has a strong following.
Rally-goers cross the Phra Pinklao Bridge bridge to enter the Democracy Monument area yesterday. POST TODAY
The crowd leaves the bridge to enter the rally area. PHRAKRIT JUNTAWONG
Ekkanat Prompan, a spokesman for the Democrat Party-led rally, said more than 400,000 people had joined the protest since Sunday afternoon and the number should increase to one million by the evening.
"Protest core members have made a million stickers to give to the people who take part in our rally and over 440,000 have already been given out to the public from Sanam Luang to Larn Luang," Mr Ekkanat said.
Rally leader former Democrat MP Suthep Thaugsuban told the crowd a House dissolution or resignation by the prime minister won't be enough to stop the Ratchadamnoen protest.
Mr Suthep said the ultimate goal of the protest is to uproot the Thaksin regime and the protest will not end unless the goal is achieved.
However, Mr Suthep maintained that the battle would not last long. "This battle will end in three days," he said.
Addressing the crowd last night, Mr Suthep said protesters would break up and travel to 13 locations today, starting at 8.30am. They include five television stations, military installations, the police and government premises.
Part of the red-shirt rally at Rajamangala stadium last night. SEKSAN ROJJANAMETAKUL
Meanwhile, red-shirt supporters have departed in their thousands from their home provinces, mostly the North and Northeast, to join the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD) rally at the Rajamangala Sports Stadium in Bangkok's Hua Mark area. As they poured into the stadium early Sunday evening, organisers said 100,000 had arrived, while other watchers said it was more like 40,000.
Deputy Commerce Minister Nattawut Saikuar, also a red shirt co-leader, said UDD supporters will not move out of the Rajamangala Sports Stadium for fear of confrontation with opposing groups.
He said the Democrat-led protest was only a pawn in the chess game. The people behind it were playing a major role in mounting pressure on the government to eventually bring it down with methods outside the democratic system.
The Democrat Party should review its role since it was being used as a tool to destroy democracy, Mr Nattawut said.
Learn from listening
- address: to speak publicly to a group of people - กล่าวปราศรัย
- aerial (adj): (of a photograph or video) from a plane or helicopter - ภาพถ่ายทางอากาศ
- apparently: based only on what you have heard or think, not on what you are certain is true; seemingly - ตามที่ได้รู้มา
- argument: a conversation or discussion in which two or more people disagree, often angrily - การโต้แย้ง, การแย้ง, การโต้เถียง
- arrest: (of the police) taking someone to a police station because they are believed to have committed a crime - การจับกุม
- atmosphere: the mood or feeling that exists in a place - บรรยากาศ
- battle: a fight; serious disagreement, strong competition, etc. - การต่อสู้
- block: to prevent from being seen - ปิดกั้น
- budget: an amount of money able to be spent on something - งบประมาณ
- cabinet: the group of government ministers who make and approve government policy - คณะรัฐมนตรี
- chess (noun): a game for two people, played on a board with black and white squares, using different shaped pieces, including two kings. The aim is to get the other player's king into a position where it cannot move - หมากรุก
- civil servants: people who work in the government departments responsible for putting central government plans into action - ข้าราชการ
- civilians (noun): people who are not members of the police or armed forces or government agencies - พลเรือน
- co-leader (noun): one of two or more leaders of a group - หนึ่งในแกนนำของกลุ่ม
- compensation: money that someone receives because something bad has happened to them - เงินชดเชย
- compound: an area in which a group of buildings stands - บริเวณ
- confrontation: a situation in which people or groups are arguing angrily or are fighting - การเผชิญหน้า
- core member: one of the most active or most important members of a group - แกนนำ
- counter: to go against - ต้าน, แย้ง
- demand: to ask for something very firmly - เรียกร้อง, ต้องการ
- demonstrators: people who march with other people in public to show that they support or oppose something - ผู้ชุมนุมประท้วง
- depart: to leave - ออกจาก
- deputy: a person whose rank is immediately below that of the leader of an organisation - รอง
- destination: the place where someone or something is going - จุดหมายปลายทาง
- dictatorship: a government having complete power and which does not rule democratically - เผด็จการ
- disputed: involved in a disagreement - มีความขัดแย้ง
- dissolve parliament: to formally end the House of Representatives, usually leading to a general election - ยุบสภา
- encourage: to make someone more likely to do something, or to make something more likely to happen - ปลุกใจ
- estimate (verb): to say what you think an amount or value is or will be, either by using available information or by guessing - คาดคะเน, ประมาณการ
- eventually: at the end of a period of time or at the end of a process - ในที่สุด
- excerpt: a part of a longer story, speech, song, text, etc. - บทคัดย่อ
- file a complaint: to make an official statement that someone has done something wrong - ยื่นคำร้อง
- goal: aim; purpose - เป้าหมาย จุดมุ่งหมาย
- headquarters: the place where an organisation or company has its main offices - กองบัญชาการ
- House dissolution (noun): the ending of the current term of the House of Representations, followed by a new election - การยุบสภา
- hustle (verb): to make somebody move quickly by pushing them in a rough aggressive way - เร่ง, ดัน, ผลัก
- illegally: in a way that is against the law - อย่างผิดกฎหมาย
- incident: something that happens, usually something bad - เหตุการณ์
- installation (noun): a building or structure, especially one that is important for an army, industry, or government; a place where specialist equipment is kept and used - ค่ายทหาร, ที่ทำการกองบัญชาการ
- instruct (verb): to tell somebody to do something, especially in a formal or official way - สั่ง
- intelligence: information collected about the secret plans of an enemy, criminal organisations, competitors, etc. - ข่าวกรอง ข้อมูลลับ
- Internal Security Act (ISA): a special law which allows the country's top security agency, the Internal Security Operations Command, to impose curfews, operate checkpoints and restrict the movement of demonstrators Under the act, the military has the authority to search protesters for weapons and use force in case of any violence. - พรบ.ความมั่นคง
- journalist: a person who writes news stories or articles for a newspaper or magazine or broadcasts them on radio or television - ผู้สื่อข่าว
- link: to connect - เชื่อม
- located: where something is - ตั้งอยู่
- maintain: to insist; to keep stating that something is true, even though other people do not agree or do not believe it - ยืนยัน, ยืนกราน
- meanwhile: at the same time - ในเวลาเดียวกัน
- method: a particular way of doing something - วิธีการ,วิธีดำเนินการ
- metropolitan police: the police in responsible for a city - ตำรวจนครบาล
- mobile: able to move or be moved around - ซึ่งเคลื่อนที่ได้ง่าย
- monument (noun): a statue or building that is built to honour a special person or event - อนุสาวรีย์ หรืออนุสรณ์สถาน
- mounting: increasing - ที่เพิ่มขึ้น
- negotiations: formal discussion in which people or groups try to reach an agreement - การเจรจาต่อรอง
- network: a large system of connected parts, organisations, people, etc. - เครือข่าย
- neutral: a person, group or country that does not support either side in a disagreement, competition or war - ผู้เป็นกลาง, ผู้ไม่ฝักใฝ่ฝ่ายใดฝ่ายหนึ่ง
- obviously: clearly - เห็นได้ชัด, อย่างชัดแจ้ง
- occupy: to be in control of a place that you entered by force as a group - ยึดครอง
- opposing: working, fighting, etc. against each other - ซึ่งต่อต้าน
- opposition: of a political party that is not part of the government or a group which is against the government - ฝ่ายค้าน ผู้ต่อต้าน
- packed: crowded; full of people or things - แน่น
- pawn: a person or group whose actions are controlled by more powerful people - คนถูกเอาเปรียบ
- pleased (adj): happy and satisfied - พอใจ, ปลื้ม
- pour into: (of people) to enter in large numbers - ไหลเข้า
- premises: the buildings and land that a business or organisation uses - ที่ดินและสิ่งปลูกสร้าง
- pressure: a force pressing against you or attempting to defeat you - ความกดดัน
- procession (noun): a line of people, vehicles or boats, often, but not always, moving in a slow and formal way as part of an event - ขบวนที่เคลื่อนไป, ขบวนรถ
- protest: a meeting or rally, sometimes forceful or violent, of people who strongly disagree with something - ชุมนุมประท้วง
- public relations: the business of giving the public information about a particular organisation or person in order to create a good impression - งานประชาสัมพันธ์
- rally: a large public gathering of people to support someone or to protest against something - การชุมนุม
- reform: a change that is intended to correct a situation that is wrong or unfair - การแก้ไข การปฏิรูป
- regime: a government that controls a country, especially in a strict or unfair way - รัฐบาลที่ขึ้นมาปกครองโดยการยึดอำนาจ
- relaxed: calm and not worried - อย่างผ่อนคลาย, ซึ่งรู้สึกสบาย
- resignation: the act of leaving a job, position of power, etc. - การลาออกจากตำแหน่ง
- restive: (of a group of people) impatient or becoming difficult to control because they are dissatisfied - วุ่นวาย ไม่สงบ ควบคุมยาก ดื้อรั้น หัวแข็ง
- review: to carefully examine or consider something - ตรวจสอบ
- role: the position or purpose that someone or something has in a situation, organisation, society or relationship - บทบาท
- standoff: a disagreement or fight in which neither opponent can do anything to win or achieve their aim; a stalemate - สถานการณ์ที่ต่างเอาชนะกันไม่ได้
- state: government - รัฐบาล
- station: to cause, especially soldiers, to be in a particular place to do a job - ตั้งฐานปฎิบัติการ,ตั้งประจำ
- sticker: a sticky label (paper, plastic, etc.) with a picture or message on it, that you stick onto something - สติ๊กเกอร์
- still: not moving or quiet - นิ่ง, เงียบ, สงบ
- stretch: to cause something to reach, often as far as possible, in a particular direction - ขยายออก, ยืดออก
- surrender: to give yourself up - ยอมแพ้ ยอมจำนน
- swell: to increase in size or number - เพิ่มจำนวน, เพิ่มขนาด, เพิ่มปริมาณ
- tactics: particular methods or plans for achieving something - กลยุทธ วิธีการในการวางแผน
- the public: people in general - ประชาชน, สาธารณชน, มหาชน
- threaten (verb): to say or indicate that you might do something bad or harmful, especially in order to make someone do something - ขู่เข็ญ คุกคาม ทำให้กลัว
- tool (noun): a thing that helps you to do your job or to achieve something - เครื่องมือ
- turnout: the number of people who come to an event or take part in an activity - ผู้ที่เข้าร่วม
- ultimate: final, after a series of things have happened - ท้ายที่สุด, ตอนสุดท้าย, ในที่สุด
- United Front for Democracy Against Dictatorship (UDD): the group originally formed to demonstrate against the 2006 coup and which supported the Somchai Wongsawat government against the PAD and which led the fight against the Abhisit government. They are known for wearing red shirts - แนวร่วมประชาธิปไตยต่อต้านเผด็จการแห่งชาติ
- update: the most recent information or news about something - ข้อมูลใหม่ๆ
- uproot: to force out of a place -
- vital: extremely important; necessary for the success or continued existence of something - จำเป็นสำหรับชีวิต; สำคัญมาก
- warning: an action or statement telling someone of a possible problem or danger - การเตือน
- weapon: an object such as a knife, gun, bomb, etc. that is used for fighting or attacking somebody - อาวุธ
- whistle: a small metal or plastic tube that you blow to make a loud high sound, used to attract attention or as a signal - นกหวีด