Abhisit slams red-shirt attack

Abhisit slams red-shirt attack

Opposition leader Abhisit Vejjajiva on Saturday slammed the red shirts’ violent attack on him in Chiang Mai, saying the incident was obviously intended to hurt him.

The incident occurred when Mr Abhisit and his team were visiting a centre on land reform for people in San Sai district on Friday to give out community land title deeds.

About 100 supporters of the red-shirt United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD) were on the scene and using loudspeakers to deliver verbal attacks against the former premier. Some tried to cordon off the area to prevent him from leaving and threw rocks at the car he came in, damaging it.

Mr Abhisit said the government had declared its desire for national reconciliation, but fugitive ex-premier Thaksin Shinawatra and his sister, Prime Minister Yingluck, had done nothing to dissuade UDD supporters from improper behaviour.

He said Friday’s attack was not normal political expression, but an act intended to harm him.

The red shirts tried to block the road, but the Democrat Party leader's convoy managed to escape in time. However, several vehicles carrying his staff were battered.

The red shirts' action clearly violated the law and police officers must take action against them, said Mr Abhisit.    

Asked if he would ask the Election Commission (EC) to look into the incident, he said he did not want to do so yet.

However, he said that since the EC's duty was to ensure fair competition among political parties, it should prevent a repeat of incidents in which members of a political party are prevented from doing work for the people.

"I want to ask the government, was that incident part of the reconciliation? [The red shirts] have obvious intentions to hurt me," Mr Abhisit said.

"I went there to see [land reform through] land banks and to help people. I did not mean to make any trouble. The prime minister has, however, never sent any signal to her followers to stop using violence [against me and the Democrats]."

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