Responding to questions raised to an international media audience of around 100 people on Tuesday 26 April three core leaders Nuttawut Saikua, Tida Tawornsed, Jatuporn Prompan explained their situation and strategy. A rough summary translation follows for readers.
The various internal security apparatuses met not long back before songkran to discuss the situation concerning the pro-democracy movement and how to handle this. Reliable sources said that 3 or 4 military elites met the amaat and talked about the result of a recent poll on the forthcoming election which showed that Phue Thai Party (PTP) would gain a significant 250 seats. They checked this survey a few times and came to the conclusion that PTP would indeed win if an election were called.
We need to watch closely events ahead especially in relation to the border conflict as an excuse for not having the election. The conflict indicates an underlying political agenda. There are clear signs that an election will not be called after the dissolution of Parliament has been announced. The Democrat Party (DP) would want immediate elections as the power above will bring them back to govern the country. Abhisit is the best PM for the amaat regime, not for the people. If no election then there will be more stress on the people. We hope the media will henceforth take more responsibility and integrity.[In response to the question on Central World (CW) arson…]
Jatuporn: the burning of CW was a well timed diversion by the state to the massacre inside Wat Pathum and to show the world that the Red Shirts are terrorists. Video tapes/pictures inside CW are revealing. The same security company was used for two months prior to the arson and this company had no special/trained disaster unit to handle a fire of this scale. It was expected that the place would be burned. The pictures of the “men in black” revealed that their shoes were military issue. The Wang Sra Pathum Police were to take care of the building but were ordered out of the complex by the army prior to the arson. It was a plot.
In Ubon some 22 people were arrested for arson at the sala-klang (р╕ир╕▓р╕ер╕▓р╕Бр╕ер╕▓р╕З, Provincial Hall) and still in prison despite having no evidence for the crime. The Governor of Ubon said at the time that 80 people were working at the Provincial Hall without arms; but police accounts said that there were some 800 police there with full arms. Police also confessed that petrol was poured from the top floor of the building. PTP MP Wichian Kaokham was told by government officials and local state volunteers that army went in to burn the hall. The Red Shirts had an earlier pact that in the case of a crackdown people should meet together and gather at the Provincial Hall. It was a plot. As the people arrived to gather they were photographed and later accused of the crime. This coincides with the burning of 52 buses. In the latter case a driver admitted in an affidavit that army personnel had taken over the buses. However this information was never allowed to be exposed in parliament.[When asked is PTP would accept the outcome of the election even if they do not win…]
Nuttawut: yes, if the election is fair. In the past we elected governments but these were brought down by the amaat forces; that’s why we had to come out… [Conversely] would the regime accept the peoples’ vote? We always accepted elections in the past, however if the election is interfered by the “hand above” and hinders forming a government then we must fight…[Tida on the media in Thailand and response to a piece in Post Today (р╣Вр╕Юр╕кр╕Хр╣Мр╕Чр╕╣р╣Ар╕Фр╕вр╣М) on Tida’s motivation for her involvement in the Red Shirts …]
The media is divided according to interests because of the fighting and Red Shirts have not been fairly represented outside the country. People outside can only read mainstream media. Is the Post Today reliable? I was involved in the Red Shirt movement not because of personal interests [getting her husband Dr Weng out of prison] but because I am a fighter and concerned for everyone including all Red Shirt leaders imprisoned. There was no personal issue. I accepted the position as Acting Chair because I am concerned about the Red Shirt movement.[Question on why did the Red Shirts not accept Abhisit’s offer of elections last year…]
Jatuporn: in the offer to dissolve parliament Abhisit wanted 9 months; we wanted 15 days for the dissolution. Abhisit never talked about dissolution. Because of the deaths on 10 April we could not leave this concern behind. We could not exchange death with an election date!
Red Shirts never asked for an amnesty. Abhisit and Suthep are protected despite their action under parliamentary privilege. We cannot accept this. As well, Thaksin has to receive justice. As long as people are not treated equally there is no hope in the justice system. Because there is no justice we have to fight.[Question in regard to UDD stand on Section 112 …]
Jatuporn: over the past 70 years issues in regard to the monarchy have been used by the army to justify a coup and elite/conservative politicians to destroy opposition as well as gaining personal benefits. The king has to be above politics. Every coup-maker refers to the monarchy. In regard to the 18
coup core leaders currently under accusation of lese majeste, even other leaders on stage not saying anything on this matter have been accused by DSI of not stopping me from saying what I said!
The standpoint of UDD is to achieve democracy with the king as head of the state and with sovereignty constitutionally belonging to the people of Thailand. The issue of 112 is the business of individuals and academics to make a move on this issue. Thai society should listen. But UDD has not made a move on 112. Nevertheless 112 accusations were made against us by the army, which is ridiculous, and ignore the case of Prem, Anan and Prasit.[Tida also added]: there will surely be a coup according to conservative or out of date ideas (р╕ер╣Йр╕▓р╕лр╕ер╕▒р╕Зр╕Др╕┤р╕Ф). [On the question of Veera Musikapong saying that there is a division among the Red Shirts, that there was a difference in regard to negative views of monarchy and a focus too much on people…]
Nuttawut: there is no conflict but a difference in thinking; we have solidarity; in relation to monarchy there is no division.
Jatuporn: Veera’s viewpoint is one of “difference” [translator’s note: some people believe that Veera has actually been in cahoots with the DP].[Question: did Red Shirts use weapons? Violence?]
Tida: we don’t use weapons; our “principle” is with peaceful action. We already struggle for 5 years so it must get better as time goes on. We chose a peaceful way forward because we believe it to be more sustainable. Some Red Shirts may not believe in a peaceful method. Other factors, such as state power are unknown. But we will do our bit to bring about peace, happiness and justice to Thai society. There is a long fight ahead but we will not take arms as the “empty hand” will win against the army. We fight to achieve justice, but not through use of arms in a battlefield.