By The Nation on Sunday
Published on February 6, 2011
The People's Alliance for Democracy resolved yesterday that Abhisit Vejjajiva government must go. Protesters also agreed to intensify their rally, although they did not explain how they would try to do this.
At around 8.30pm, thousands of protesters - bigger than previous days, occupied the areas from Makkhawan Bridge to Misakawan Intersection.
The PAD had said earlier it would mobilise supporters yesterday and seek their agreement on how to ramp up the rally to pressure the government.
Speakers including PAD leader Chamlong Srimuang took turns to attack the government and military for their handling of the Thai-Cambodian border dispute.
The speaker asked protesters: "Who wants to give Abhisit another chance? Please raise your hand." After silence, the speaker asked whether the government must be ousted, the protesters shouted 'yes' in response.
Police yesterday installed layers of barbed wire at Government House and beefed up security to prevent protesters from getting into the compound.
The organisers prohibited weapons and alcohol. Yellow-shirt guards and plain-clothed police patrolled the rally site while police in uniform strictly guarded Government House.
PAD has been protesting for 12 days. It is calling for the government to cancel a Memorandum of Understanding signed with Cambodia in 2000. It also wants Thailand to withdraw from the World Heritage Committee working on the listing of Preah Vihear and to push back Cambodians "encroaching" on disputed territory along the border.
In a press conference yesterday, Chamlong claimed said that fighting with Cambodia would not have broken out if the government had followed the PAD's three demands. It had yielded to Cambodia because it was so weak and cowardly, he said.
In regard to a challenge by the Army chief that the protesters fight along the border themselves, Chamlong said he was a veteran soldier but it was the Army's duty to push back Cambodians out of "Thai territory" before negotiating. Thailand had the military capacity to do that easily.
"In previous times, (soldiers) had to fight as it was important to protect Thai soil. Don't fear that soldiers will die. All soldiers know that dying on duty is possible. (Anyone) afraid of wars should not have become soldiers."
He said the PAD would send donations to provide food for people evacuated from affected areas along the border.