Isan support boosts PDRC rally

The People's Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) member in charge of the stage at Lat Phrao claims the campaign is drawing many people from northeastern provinces to join the PDRC rallies in Bangkok.

Issara Somchai, a former Democrat party-list MP and a native of Ubon Ratchathani province, said he has seen many northeastern people showing their support for the PDRC's bid to oust the caretaker government.

Mr Issara said thousands of anti-government protesters from the Northeast have been travelling to Bangkok since Jan 13 to join the PDRC's Bangkok shutdown campaign.

"Many of them have not returned home yet.

"They stay with me at the Lat Phrao stage to oust caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and the caretaker government," he said.

Mr Issara said the PDRC protest is different from past anti-government rallies some years ago. Anti-government rally organisers in the past had to bring northeastern people to join political gatherings in Bangkok.

Those organisers also had to provide them with food and vehicles, he said.

"The PDRC's campaign is like a wake-up call for northeastern people. I believe many people from the Northeast are travelling to join the PDRC of their own accord," he said.

Mr Issara said he had spoken to many people from the Northeast, asking them why they decided to join the protest.

He said they had told him that they monitored the PDRC's campaign via the Democrat Party's BlueSky TV channel at home and believed the Pheu Thai government lacked transparency while administering the country.

The Bangkok Post found many northeastern people at the Lat Phrao stage were from Nakhon Phanom, Yasothon, Roi Et, Maha Sarakham and Udon Thani provinces.

They said they joined the PDRC protest in Bangkok without hesitation, when the lower House pushed through the blanket amnesty bill before dawn on Nov 1 last year.

They were also bored of corrupt politicians.

They said they felt they did not have freedom of speech in the northeastern provinces - the strongholds of red shirts and the Pheu Thai Party.

But the PDRC gives them a platform to express their opinions freely, they added.

They also said the government's rice-pledging scheme failure which caused delayed payments for farmers was another reason that drove them to join the PDRC movement.

"If we criticise or perform activities against the government, our houses may be attacked. State officials may not take legal action against the wrongdoers," said Sawang Chanchai, 66, an Udon Thani resident.

Mr Sawang said he feels state power does not protect those with different political views.

He said he joined the PDRC rally because he wants to see political reform in the country.

A 48-year-old anti-government protester from Uthai Thani, who declined to give her name, said she had witnessed the corruption of senior officers' during her position in a government office.

But she said she could not speak out about the matter because many officers have the support of red shirts.

She added that she could not wear a Thai flag shirt or criticise the Pheu Thai government because she might be targeted for harassment.

"Whatever happens to me, I don't care anymore. I want my home to be a better place," she said.

Share your thoughts

Discussion 1 : 24/01/2014 at 06:12 PM
When the brain is empty for valuable arguments and knows that winning an election is impossible then mesmerized people try prostests, utter unproven false statements and use what the can best: PROPAGANDA thereby also trying to hide their former deeds of corruption. Ex Dem MP's are masters of propaganda and many commentators here fit into the same pattern.
Discussion 2 : 24/01/2014 at 02:45 PM
They want to have a political and electoral reforms before the election. I don't understand why the caretaker regime is too afraid of the reforms demanded by the millions or protesters!
Discussion 3 : 24/01/2014 at 02:07 PM
PTP's chickens are about to come home to roost.
Discussion 4 : 24/01/2014 at 01:45 PM
So finally the red drums were reaching Botswana?
Discussion 5 : 24/01/2014 at 12:23 PM
PDRC is not a political party. If there are reforms and a 1 to 2 year cooling off period, prior to elections, there will be time for others to consider setting up some alternative parties to contest the elections. As it stands now, it is much like America where there are only 2 viable parties to choose from. In my opinion, this is wrong and promotes polarization. Look at the diversity of some European countries that have many viable parties & end up sharing rule through a coalition. Much better system.
Discussion 6 : 24/01/2014 at 11:53 AM
If any of this is right, then why would PDRC not let them vote?
Discussion 7 : 24/01/2014 at 11:06 AM
Therese are wellsituated people in Isaan too.
Discussion 8 : 24/01/2014 at 10:23 AM
I think Mr Issara is just counting the chickens before they hatch.
Discussion 9 : 24/01/2014 at 10:03 AM
Certainly, people who are honest and are sincere to serve their constituents will win the next election. Now the majority of rice farmers know the truth and know whom they will not vote for.
Discussion 10 : 24/01/2014 at 09:52 AM
Here in the south, I can't even vote for my candidate because your mob has blocked the registration building.
Discussion 11 : 24/01/2014 at 09:31 AM
That's not true ! Intimidation is used as a tool to get people in line on both sides.
Discussion 12 : 24/01/2014 at 08:57 AM
Translation please?
Discussion 13 : 24/01/2014 at 08:54 AM
No qualms about winning support for your cause. Now go win an election.
Discussion 14 : 24/01/2014 at 08:53 AM
The lack of freedom of speach in the red shirt strong holds and the harassment of people not voting for PT is a serious, very serious problem. People cant vote anonymously, the people not voting with the reds are scolded in public. That some people here seem to want comb over these fascist tendencies is surprising to say the least. There is nothing like these "red villages" and voter intimidation in the south. And yes, I have travelled all through the southern provinces.
Discussion 15 : 24/01/2014 at 08:16 AM
People were angry with the amnesty bill as it would have given amnesty to Abhisit and Suthep who ordered the army to open fire on civilians. It would also have given amnesty to the yellow shirts who blocked the airports, Govermenty House etc. causing untold damage to the country.
Discussion 16 : 24/01/2014 at 08:10 AM
So now those "no brains and stupid" from the north suddenly made you proud because they are on your side?
Discussion 17 : 24/01/2014 at 07:03 AM
The PDRC claims many things. If the PDRC is correct that they are getting widespread support then they should push for an election.
Discussion 18 : 24/01/2014 at 06:22 AM
The article mostly repeats without critical examination claims of the PDRC. According to my opinion quite embarassing for the author and also for the newspaper that has published it. I would expect more from journalists and from an independent press!
Discussion 19 : 24/01/2014 at 06:06 AM
Everyone has his of her freedom to speak and support whichever party they like best or what s/he wants to talk. Nothing special. Nothing is wrong. the already wrong is that the protests have used the wrong channel to against the government. Do they know it?

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