At the United Front of Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD) press conference on 16 October 2013, Assoc. Prof. Tida Tavonseth, president of the UDD, praised participants and organizers from Red and Yellow October groups for organizing and attending the 40th anniversary of the student’s protest that put an end to the ruling military dictatorship in Thailand on 14 October 1973.
Mrs. Tida also mentioned of her support for Mr. Seksan Prasertkul’s speech at Thammasart University by commenting that his scientific analysis of the social gap and economic inequality within the Thai society is progressive and truly based on democratic principles. In contrast to Mr. Thirayuth Boonme speech at the 14 October Foundation’s ceremony where Mrs. Tida described it as backward and off-base from reality because it neglected changes in the society.
Mrs. Tida said the Thai society is not a society of “servants” that are “submissive to repression” as claimed by Mr. Thirayuth because the Red Shirts and other democratic movements are definite proofs that his assumption was incorrect. Apart from her criticism, Mrs. Tida agreed with Thirayuth’s theory of decentralization but cited that the “governing class” and conservative aristocrats are unwilling to give the power back to the legitimate owner which is the main obstacle of democracy in this country. She was also disappointed in the choice of insulting words that Mr. Thirayuth had chosen to use to describe the society and criticized the government which had distracted the audience from the essence of his speech because he was a prominent speaker in the past.
The president of the UDD said she is willing to listen to Seksan’s recommendation for the Red Shirts to expand its network of coalition and remain committed to liberal democracy ideology. However, she urged him to make an official copy of his suggestions for the Am-mart and conservative intellects so that they could read about it, too. She believes that it might enable them to realize the problems that they have caused for the development of democracy in this country.
Mr. Jatuporn Prompan, co-leader of the UDD, said the political situation is at its critical point where the Am-mart group is looking for ways to create a situation that would allow them to overthrow the government. As evidence in the movement of the Students’ Network to Reform protest at Uruphong where its gathering was mainly consisted of Democrat followers and other anti-government groups.
Jatuporn said there were only a handful of university students who were mobilizing the protest and they were being used by the conservative masses to legitimize their hidden agenda. He advised the student leaders that were approached by the Am-mart group to stand on their own moral ground because they might fall into the trap that was set up by the anti-democratic regime. Jatuporn said the Students’ Network to Reform protest alone cannot bring down the government but it could open the door for independent organizations to interfere when the time is right. He warned the government not to let their guard down because the Am-mart group is aiming to use the protest in Uruphong to oust the government, similar to when they used the People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD) to overthrow Thaksin’s administration in 2006.
Mr. Jatuporn said the non-confrontation approach of the Red Shirt supporter against the Network of Students and People for Reform protestors was and is the right thing to do because;
“By remaining inactive, the Red Shirts have blocked the opportunity for the Am-mart to incite violence. The Network of Students and People for Reform protestors has to right to exercise their political right to protest. They should be allowed to voice their concerns and grievances.”
On the latest development of the protest, the Internal Security Act (ISA) that was imposed in three Bangkok districts – Dusit, Phra Nakhon and Pomprap Sattruphai – has been extended until the 30th of November, 2013, one day after the parliamentary session ends. The news was announced yesterday by National Security Council secretary-general Paradorn Pattanatabut.
Lt. Gen. Paradon explained three reasons for the extension of the ISA:
1. The rally at Urupong intersection
2. Parliament is considering some important bills
3. The International Court of Justice is scheduled to deliver its ruling in the Preah Vihear case on November 11, which may lead to more protests.
“Security agencies have learned that protest groups will return to demonstrate outside the Government House. However, since general laws do not cover this, the government needs to invoke a special law,” he said. (Quote source: Nations)