A combined total of 10,000 Red Shirts gathered to learn and discuss the movement’s goals and progress during two political schools that were held in the Northeastern region of Isaan on Sunday and Monday. The seminars focused on the approaching opportunity for a people’s constitution which would spell a major victory, not only for the Red Shirt movement, but for the democratic future of Thailand.
UDD chairwoman Tida opened the political school in Ubon Ratchathani on Monday, Thailand’s Constitution Day, by highlighting the need for a constitution that is approved by the people.
We must concentrate on amending the constitution. Until we have a legal foundation that is supported by the people, there will be no end to the coups d’état, whether they are military, judicial, or administrative… We must eliminate the coups completely.
In a similar vein, Veerakan Musicpong told the crowd,
The current constitution was imposed on us by the military, it is anti-democratic.
The Democrat Party has opposed the proposed constitutional amendments in Parliament, arguing that any amendments will threaten the institution of the monarchy in Thailand, and that they are intended to grant amnesty to exiled former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra.
In response, Veerakan said,
The amaat will try to claim that any constitutional amendments will threaten the monarchy. Amending the constitution does not impact the monarchy, even the Constitutional Court agrees with me on this… These amendments take a lot of hard work, we will do this for the whole country, not only for one person, and not only for Red Shirts.
The UDD co-leaders also addressed the recent murder charges brought by the Department of Special Investigation (DSI) against former Prime Minister Abhisit Vajjajiva and Suthep Thaugsuban, former deputy prime minister and the director of the Center for the Resolution of the Emergency Situation (CRES). The charges relate to the death of Pan Kamkong, a taxi driver who was shot to death by CRES soldiers during the April-May 2010 military crackdown.
Finally it is not only the Red Shirts that have to deal with court cases. Abhisit and Suthep will have to answer over 1,000 cases in court for their crimes.
She is referring to the 98 deaths and thousands of injuries that were sustained during the crackdown.
However, Jatuporn Prompan warned Red Shirts that the road ahead will not be painless.
The amaat are afraid of the cases from 2010, they know that they are in trouble. They will try hard to overthrow this government.
He also reaffirmed that the UDD will push strongly for amnesty to be granted to all political prisoners in Thailand, regardless of their political ideology, with the exception of the leaders.
Red Shirts will refuse to seek amnesty for the leaders. The leaders must take responsibility for everything.
In addition, he urged the government to accept the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court (ICC) over the events of April-May 2010, to ensure that justice will be served.
If the government accepts the jurisdiction of the ICC, it will be extremely difficult to overthrow it.
The co-leaders reminded Red Shirt activists of their strength and power.
We must not underestimate our power to do good for this country. We must lead Thailand to genuine democracy. We have come so far, this is not the time to sit around and be idle, we still have a lot of work ahead of us.