Chiang Mai 'free of coloured politics'

The army and Chiang Mai's governor on Sunday declared Chiang Mai a “colour-coded politics-free” province.

The northern province is known as a stronghold for the red-shirt United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD) and the Pheu Thai Party.

33rd Military Circle commander Maj Gen Sarayuth Rungsri said he believed there were now no “colour-clad people” in Chiang Mai and it appeared the military need not monitor any one or any group in particular as before.

Maj Gen Sarayuth said soldiers had been working with provincial authorities to encourage reconciliation by visiting villages and communities and talking to the people. 

Leaders of all rival political groups in the province had been invited to sit down to face-to-face talks. They cooperated well and understood the National Council for Peace and Order’s efforts to dissolve colour-coded politics that had created divisions in Thai society for many years, he said.  

“Soldiers never use force or intimidation but only hold sincere and open-minded talks with local political leaders who have cooperated well,” Maj Gen Sarayuth said. “I believe they understand [the reconciliation efforts], not just pretend to understand, because we always talk and their responses have shown us just that.”

Chiang Mai governor Suriya Prasartbandit claimed the province is now free from coloured politics. His conclusion was based on the general political situation and opposition from political dissidents at provincial and district meetings between authorities and residents, he said. 

“Today I can say Chiang Mai has no coloured-shirt groups anymore. No red, no yellow. It’s a green season, natural green, not military green. All coloured shirts have gone.”    

He said he had talked openly with kamnans, village chiefs and members of local administrative bodies across the province and all saw no use for the politics of colour and agreed that it was time for everyone to help reform the country.  

"For the past few years it’s been about the conflict among politicians, not a conflict among the people,” he said. 

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