At the UDD’s weekly press conference on Wednesday, UDD leaders called on Red Shirts to be prepared for a precarious month of April. The National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) is set to announce its decision on an investigation of prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra’s financial assets which could result in the Pheu Thai leader’s disqualification as a member of parliament.
UDD spokesperson Tanawut Wichaidit said,
The NACC has started to make its move against the government. We need to stay alert because the political situation can change quickly.
UDD co-leader Dr Weng Tojirakarn reiterated that Red Shirts need to be ready to defend a democratically elected government against so-called “independent agencies” that were created by the 2006 coup-makers,
The anti-democratic forces in this country will try to bring down the government in April. We need a strong show of strength so that the amaat knows we are watching them.
Red Shirts will gather in numbers on April 10th for the third anniversary of the start of the brutal military crackdown that shook Bangkok in 2010. While the gathering, set to be held at Bangkok’s Democracy Monument, will express solidarity with the Pheu Thai administration, the UDD will also continue to pressure the government to fight on behalf of Thailand’s political prisoners, push forward with constitutional reform, and allow the International Criminal Court to open a preliminary investigation on the events of spring 2010.
UDD chairwoman Tida Tawornseth said,
While the NACC is threatening to take down this government, we need to stay focused on our friends in prison. There are 34 Red Shirt prisoners in Laksi and Bangkok Remand prison, 26 have bail, giving us a total of 60. I understand why the government is hesitating on amnesty. But if you can’t bail them out, transfer them to Laksi prison at the very least. It’s been nearly three years. They have already suffered too much. Enough is enough.
The UDD leadership also reacted to the recent controversy surrounding the Thai PBS channel’s decision to cancel an episode of the television program Tob Jote (Tackling Problems) that discussed the role of the Monarchy in a debate format. The program triggered strong indignation from ultra-royalists, including a group of appointed senators as well as the Commander-in-chief of the Royal Thai Army Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha who said matter of factly that people who did not approve on Thailand’s lèse majesté law should consider emigrating.
Tida stated that the UDD considers the freedom of the press and the individual’s freedom of expression as essential to any healthy democracy, but she was disturbed by Gen Prayuth’s comments,
He is the acting commander of the Thai military and should not be voicing political opinions. We’ve read this story before.
The main point we want to get across to people is that these are uncertain times and we need to be on guard.