PDRC 'will not block' early voting

PDRC 'will not block' early voting

Anti-government protest leaders will not "block" but "oppose" voting when advance polling starts on Sunday.

"We will not block the election but we will persuade everyone in front of polling stations to jointly reform Thailand instead of exercising their voting rights," Suthep Thaugsuban, secretary-general of the People's Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC), said yesterday.

Mr Suthep urged protesters to arrive at the polling stations early in the morning on the advance voting day.

"If possible, please be there before the ballot boxes are delivered to each polling station," he said.

He said since there are only 50 polling stations in Bangkok for advance voting, it should be easy for the PDRC to hold activities at all of them.

Mr Suthep stressed that on Sunday the PDRC will campaign for reform before the election and not to disrupt the poll.

"I would like to suggest that Bangkok residents who plan to cast votes on Sunday should change their minds. It would be better not to go out because you will only find we have taken over the polling stations," he said.

Mr Suthep insisted his group was demanding not only the postponement of the election pending political reform but also the resignation of the caretaker government of Yingluck Shinawatra.

Mr Suthep and other PDRC leaders also wrote to United States President Barack Obama and United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to explain to them the ideas of the PDRC.

Mr Obama and Mr Ban have only responded to distorted information from some media organisations and lobbyists hired by the network of former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, Ms Yingluck's elder brother, he claimed.

Mr Suthep said they also informed the UN secretary-general that Thaksin's "network" had violated human rights on several occasions including the killing of over 2,000 people allegedly involved in narcotics, the deadly crackdowns on Muslim demonstrators in Tak Bai district of Narathiwat province and at the Krue Se mosque in Pattani province and recent violent responses to peaceful and unarmed demonstrators.

PDRC spokesman Akanat Promphan said yesterday that his group would not block but only oppose the advance election tomorrow. PDRC demonstrators will not close any Bangkok district offices and he did not believe the campaign would result in any violence.

He also said Mr Suthep would march from Ratchaprasong intersection to nearby roads today to woo supporters, while PDRC demonstrators would also rally in Germany, the United States, Finland, Britain, France, Denmark, New Zealand, Sweden and Australia.

Pol Col Surapol Sorasakulchai, secretary to the police's election peacekeeping centre, said 6,000-7,000 police officers would be deployed nationwide to help maintain safety at the advance polling tomorrow.

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