Spokesperson for Bangkok communities linked to PAD

A group called the Network of Bangkok Community Citizens has come out claiming to speak for 1,800 communities in Bangkok to urge the red shirts not to violate the rights of Bangkokians.  Its spokesperson, however, has been exposed as a supporter of the People’s Alliance for Democracy protests in 2008 on behalf of the Isaan people.

On 24 March, the Network of Bangkok Community Citizens, which reportedly claimed to represent 1,800 communities in Bangkok, urged Bangkokians to stand up to protect their communities and warn the red shirts not to violate their rights.

‘We want to protect our own rights.  So far, Bangkokians have been tolerant for quite some time.  The prolonged protests have very much affected our lives in going to work or to school.  Our lives have been frustrated.  We understand their problems, but we also want them to respect our rights,’ said Phuchong Kanitthachat, coordinator of the group.

The group asked that all sides refrain from violence and respect the rights and safety of affected people and communities.  They urged communities in Bangkok to protect their own lives and assets.  And the government must provide security for them.

The red shirts’ rally, which was supposed to be peaceful, has shown signs of violence, as seen in the words of certain speakers, the use of blood to threaten their opponents, the mobilization of the large motorcade through main streets in Bangkok, as well as the bombings in various places, they said, adding that the violence seems likely to escalate.

Phuchong at PAD rally

According to an ASTV-Manager report on 3 June 2008, Phuchong, who was reported to be from the Association of Public Interest Organizations for a Strong Thai Society, spoke at a press conference by a group called the People’s Sector Network in Isaan in Khon Kaen in support of the People’s Alliance for Democracy protests in Bangkok which lasted 193 days from 25 May to 3 Dec 2008.  During that time, the PAD started the occupation of Government House on 26 Aug, and the seizure of the Don Mueang and Suvarnabhumi Airports on 24 Nov.

The group said the PAD protesters were exercising their rights as guaranteed by the Constitution, and had ‘the right to protect their lives and assets as needs be’, in case the Samak Sundaravej government decided to disperse them.       

Phuchong is a board member of the Association of Public Interest Organizations for a Strong Thai Society which has Dr Poldej Pinpratheep as president.  Dr Pholdej was the Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Social Development and Human Security in the Gen Surayud Chulanont administration after the 2006 coup, and is a close aide of Dr Prawase Wasi.

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