'Split Thailand' banner in Phayao

PHAYAO ― A vinyl banner bearing a message in Thai which can be translated as “This country has no justice. Gu want to split the country” has been posted on a pedestrian flyover in Muang district of the northern province of Phayao.

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Gu is an informal and impolite Thai pronoun which means I.

The banner, one metre wide and four metres long, was hung from a pedestrian flyover crossing Phahon Yothin Road (Lampang-Phayao) in front of Boonsit Wittaya School in Phayao municipality. It was placed over an announcement promoting the Chinese New Year festival, which will begins on Friday, Jan 31.

Investigators from Muang Phayao police station were called to inspect and take pictures of the banner on Tuesday. Police assumed the motive was political. The flyover is near a U-turn where waiting motorists are likely to observe the banner more clearly than in other places, police said. 

Phayao is a northern province that is a political stronghold of the Pheu Thai Party and the red-shirt United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD). Siriwat Chupamattha, a UDD coordinator for Phayao, denied any involvement in the hanging of the banner and said he had no idea who put it there. 

He agreed the banner was probaby put up by red-shirts in the province, but said he did not know which group,  and there were several of them. 

He warned that rifts among people with different political views will deepen and the idea of splitting Thailand in two could draw more support in future if the anti-government, anti-election protests led by Suthep Thaugsuban of the People's Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) continued.

“I personally think Mr Suthep should be the one splitting the country” and could then carry on living with his political ideology, he added.  

The banner was hung for about four hours as it was removed before 3pm Tuesday.

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