2 rally stages to close

2 rally stages to close

The People's Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) has resolved to end rallies at two of their seven stages for safety reasons.

PDRC co-leader Issara Somchai, who oversees the Lat Phrao stage, announced the demolition of the two stages last evening following a meeting with PDRC leaders, including secretary-general Suthep Thaugsuban.

The decision came after several violent attacks at the stages, including Saturday's shootout between anti-government protesters and the pro-government red-shirt group at Laksi, he said.

Mr Issara said the PDRC obtained information suggesting there would be more violence after the general election, as red shirts and an unidentified group of armed men had already plotted attacks.

''PDRC leaders believe it isn't worth risking our lives with these armed groups. We have tried our best to safeguard ourselves, but the attacks have continued over the recent weeks,'' Mr Issara said.

The Lat Phrao and Victory Monument stages, led by former Democrat MP Thaworn Senneam, have been attacked with gun fire and explosive devices, injuring several guards and protesters.

Mr Issara said demonstrators from Lat Phrao and Victory Monument stages would join the rally at Lumpini Park near Sala Daeng intersection.

Mr Suthep will visit the Lat Phrao stage on Monday to lead protesters to join Victory Monument protesters before moving on to Lumpini Park.

The PDRC set up seven stages across Bangkok when they launched the Bangkok shutdown operation on Jan 13.

With the demolitions of the Lat Phrao and Victory Monument stages, there will be five stages left, at Chaeng Watthana, Pathumwan, Ratchaprasong, Asok and Lumpini.

Mr Issara said he would also convince Luang Pu Buddha Issara, who leads the Chaeng Watthana protest, to disband for safety reasons.

PDRC demonstrators on Sunday held a ''national picnic day'' as part of their boycott of the election.

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