Author Topic: Faith in Thaksin fuels red fever  (Read 937 times)

Offline Johnnie F.

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Faith in Thaksin fuels red fever
« on: March 13, 2010, 08:21:52 AM »
Faith in Thaksin fuels red fever

Protesters say Abhisit govt ignores poor

Many Bangkok residents are puzzled as to why rural people are descending on the capital in defence of former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra.

But the motivations are clear for protesters like Noi Prachanklang, 41, and Boonma Chompoosoong, 70, both from the Northeast.

"It is about faith," they said.

The two braved the scorching heat during the four-hour journey in the back of a pickup truck from their remote village in Nakhon Ratchasima's Nong Bunnak district to a red shirt rendezvous point in Pak Chong district.

"I feel sorry for him," Ms Noi said, discussing the Supreme Court's Feb 26 ruling to seize 46 billion baht in assets belonging to Thaksin.

"He was removed from power, but he is still being bullied. Why be so cruel?" she said.

Ms Noi and Mrs Boonma did not believe that Thaksin had abused his power as the court found.

"He was rich before."

The two have said they, like other red shirts, were not paid to attend the rally.

"Let's face it. The Abhisit government has the backing of [Privy Council president] Gen Prem [Tinsulanonda].

"It does not represent the needs of the majority of the people."

One protest which made them feel the proudest about joining was a gathering of the Assembly of the Poor which succeeded in pushing for a moratorium on farm debt and a project to help refinance underground debt.

Ms Noi said when Thaksin became premier, officials were sent to educate people in rural areas on legal issues.

"I have never been afraid of anyone since," she said.

She urged people to take a fresh look at the motivations of the red shirts.

"We want peace. We don't want to fight against anyone," Ms Noi said.

"And I believe soldiers won't shoot people."

She said the red shirts will continue with their rally until Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva dissolves the house and calls a general election.

"Isan people like us don't mind roughing it," she said. "Give us some sticky rice and somtam. That's enough."

Ms Noi answered a serious question about why poor people from the Northeast were mobilising to put pressure on the Democrat-led government.

The aim of their fight is to bring back a government which was acceptable to poor people, she said.

"Poor people have to fight to make things better," she said. "We don't fight for our own interests. Our actions will benefit generations of people to come."

Bangkok Post