Author Topic: Neither heat nor hardship dim rally fervour  (Read 872 times)


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Neither heat nor hardship dim rally fervour
« on: March 22, 2010, 01:59:33 AM »
Neither heat nor hardship dim fervour

With temperatures soaring to 36 degrees Celsius yesterday, plus dining and toilet facilities leaving much to be desired, some red-shirted protesters hit their limit, leaving fewer people and freer flowing traffic along Rajdamnoen Avenue.

But many others held firmly onto their goal of forcing a House dissolution. At 1pm, hundreds of them stood in front of the stage under the blazing sun to cheer the speakers up, while others took a rest in their tents and under trees, with all ears tuned to the speeches, songs and updates on their leaders and red-shirted friends. Boxed meals and sticky rice were handed out for lunch by other protesters on motorcycles.

Five protesters unloaded their grievances on The Nation, saying the heat would not drive them away. They were ready to torture themselves until the reds won the battle, or when Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva disbands the House.

Abhisit showed he couldn't manage the country, as farmers' income had fallen while the cost of living kept rising, they said. They are yearning for the golden era under former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra.

Boonchoo and Phongphet Sriphoothorn, an elderly couple from the northeastern province of Nong Bua Lamphu, have joined every mass rally in Bangkok, Khao Yai Tiang National Park in Nakhon Ratchasima and Chanthaburi.

"My family doesn't like this government. It's not democratic. I decided to be a local red-shirt leader in Nonsang district to protest against them," Boonchoo, 73, said. "Though tired, I'm not discouraged. Growing rice is much more exhausting than protesting here."

Boonma Phermphuak, 58, a shop owner from Chanthaburi in the East, who's joined almost every mass rally in Bangkok, said she wants Abhisit to dissolve the House and let Thais cast their votes for a party they preferred.

"After the new election result is announced, the red shirts will stop, no matter if the new PM is from the Democrat Party or Pheu Thai Party, because it's the Thai people's decision," she said.

Boonchoo and Phongphet, 76, insisted they did not get paid to protest.

"In contrast, we've made and sought donations for this rally. Only each pickup truck owner got Bt4,000 to cover the cost of fuel," he said.

Boonma said she even paid over Bt200 for her own bus fare to come to Bangkok and bought necessities and food for poor protesters.

"Selling goods at home, I earn more than Bt500 a day. I would not trade that for the payments that many people accuse us of receiving," she said.

Jandee, a 56-year-old company employee from Lampang, was another person insisting that she was not hired to demonstrate.

A Bangkok protester calling himself Eed, 67, said he left his daily income of Bt1,000 from selling coffee to participate in this protest.

"My five children were at this protest site with me last night (Sunday night). They'll join the protest again when they're free from work," he said.

Eed and the others are determined to prolong their camp-out, in full confidence that nobody, particularly the government, would dare attack them.

And the battle will continue with blood donations today. Some elderly protesters as well as those who came without friends reportedly hesitated to give blood, out of hygiene concerns.

Others, though, see the donation as a small token to achieve success.

"The donation is symbolic as they're asking for a tiny quantity of blood," they said.

The Nation