The United Front for Democracy Against Dictatorship (UDD) in 8 northeastern provinces met on Saturday in Udon Thani. Here UDD has declared as the starting point of their march.
Apart from Udon Thani, Thais from Nong Khai, Loei, Nong Bua Lam Phu, Bung Kan, Nakhon Phanom, Mukdahan and Sakon Nakhon. From Udon Thani, the people will march to Kalasin, Maha Sarakham and then Khon Kaen.
UDD Chairwoman Ms. Thida Thawornseth said the “Red Shirts” met here to begin their march to meet “people who do not love democracy” in Bangkok. This is in reference to the neo-fascist group called the People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) which has declared to remove Thailand’s Caretaker Government and install an unelected council. This agenda is supported by the Democrat Party which intends to rule Thailand without the participation of the majority. Critics argue that such council will be filled with PDRC’s cronies, former army officers, influential “Yellow Shirt” tycoons and ultra royalists who are keen to turn the country into absolute monarchy.
It was estimated by UDD that at least 20,000 members will begin the journey on Sunday and join with people who share the same ideology for civil liberty along the way.
“We will explain to the northern and northeastern people the need to do something before more damage is done to the country.”
“This is because Thailand does not have only the People’s Democratic Reform Committee. There’s another group with even more people ready to make a move to let the country move on,” she said.
She did not rule out the possibility that the red shirts would come to Bangkok but said it would depend on the situation.
“Democracy lovers are enraged as they have been targeted for a long time,” Ms. Thida said.
“Why would we divide the country? After all, we are the majority of this nation. We won’t allow the minority to dictate the fate of the majority,” she said.
Ms. Thida along with others who support democracy in Thailand see the need to defend the Caretaker Government against anyone who advocates against democracy. Critics are concerned of confrontation between the “Red Shirts” and PDRC, as Mr. Suthep Thaugsuban (PDRC chief) has on many occasions taunted the Thais from the northern provinces.
Mr. Suthep, who is facing mass murder charges for the violent army crackdown of “Red Shirt” demonstrators in Bangkok, has challenged UDD with hate speeches and ridicule. It is common to hear in Bangkok among the middle class calling the “Red Shirts” as uneducated. The popular stereotype of hate speech is calling the members of UDD “buffaloes” in reference to their poor socioeconomic background, where many are farmers.
During numerous rallies, PDRC leaders have degraded the northern kin as “stupid” and “poor” which has inflamed the hardworking Thais of the north. Despite the education possessed by the middle class inhabitants of Bangkok, the hate speeches have been an ongoing trend where resentment against the poor is deeply ingrained in the psychological beliefs. This attitude does not help to bridge the gap between the rich and poor.