Registration venues for DPVG membership have been set up in all 32 districts of the northeastern province after its chairman Suporn Atthawong officially opened enrolments on Saturday. Registration will be open until the end of this month.
Mr Suporn is deputy secretary-general to the prime minister and a co-leader of the red-shirt United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD).
UDD co-leader Noi Meesook, who is supervising a registration venue at Mittaparb Pattana in tambon Nai Muang, said more than 300 men and women in the neighbourhood had registered with the DPVG so far, adding that their number was expected to increase.
The applicants held various occupations ranging from government officials, to teachers, soldiers, businessmen and vendors, he said.
Mr Noi said many pro-government supporters from Muang district went to Chiang Mai on Saturday to participate in a UDD mass rally and would register for the DPVG later.
He argued the volunteers group was not an armed militia but “an intellectually armed force” to fight dictatorship and threats to the constitutional monarchy.
“The accusation that it is a separatist force is total nonsense. Opposition groups have tried to invent a discourse to mislead the people and create fear,” Mr Noi said.
“The DPVG is in fact a group of people who love democracy and gather to protect it, ensuring that our democracy will be as strong as those in other civilised countries.”
Mr Suporn earlier said it was hoped that there would be at least 200,000 DPVG members countrywide by the end of the month.