Assuming the People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD) organisers keep it peaceful, Bangkok residents will once again be subject to even worse traffic disruptions, and businesses will be harmed. Nearly seven years after it was formed as an anti-Thaksin Shinawatra group, the PAD is still a force which is unable to articulate views that could move the country forward.
Sondhi admitted during his speech on Saturday _ even bragged _ that the fight he proposes against the amnesty bill now before parliament will be a "final battle". But he was quick to note it is not the final effort to move the country forward. It is his personal, final fight.
After this imminent confrontation over the proposed reconciliation law, Sondhi will drop out of politics.
This selfish and totally negative view of the reconciliation bill is unhelpful. Parliament has heard arguments for and against, and the government has wisely not tried to ram through the measure. There is plenty of time to debate it, and the PAD should be a part of such public consideration.
Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, meanwhile, has tried to have it both ways on the issue. On Saturday, she said yet again that the Pheu Thai Party and her government "have no agenda to push the bill". This disingenuous attempt to evade such an important issue is hardly the sign of strong leadership. It is clear to everyone that the party and the government support the bill. Otherwise, it would have died a parliamentary death before it even arrived on the floor.
It is also interesting that the bill is officially sponsored by Sonthi Boonyaratglin, the only member of his tiny political group, and the leader of the 2006 coup which ousted Thaksin. Gen Sonthi has refused to explain that coup, leading to speculation that it involved Privy Council president Prem Tinsulanonda. Nor has he articulated why he has pushed strongly for a law which will whitewash Thaksin's conviction and pending cases, and bring him back to Thailand without any consequences.
Sondhi is correct, then, in saying that the reconciliation proposal is a partisan effort. His relatively extremist PAD are not the only opponents. The Democrat Party has also criticised the bill, and has voted against it at every opportunity in parliament. Last week, chief Democrat whip Jurin Laksanavisit criticised the government for "only considering the interests of one person".
This is the reason why Sondhi and the PAD leaders are so wrong to return to the divisive and upsetting tactics of street rallies. The yellow shirts can serve the country far better if they joined the active and often lively public and parliamentary debate over this proposed attempt to legislate reconciliation via a blanket amnesty. The rally on Wednesday will disrupt traffic and city life once again, without making a dent on public policy. Seven years ago, Sondhi and his political allies formed the PAD to affect the future of the country. The group needs to help the country with new proposals and tactics instead of resorting to its tired and unpersuasive methods.