Thursday, April 9, 2009

Who comprises the red-shirt army?

Saved for the purpose of analysis and information

1. The first, a 10,000-strong group of protesters from the Northeast, North and the Central region, are further divided into three smaller groups that take turns in joining Bangkok rallies every three days. At least 60 per cent of them, or 6,000 members, can be found at any one of the protest sites in the capital.

In the North, red-shirt alliances consist of the Rak Chiang Mai 51 Group, Democratic Alliance against Dictatorship (DAAD)'s Chiang Rai Group, Payao Army Assembly, DAAD's Mae Sod Group and the Lower North Group.

The core protesters in the northern capital are the Rak Chiang Mai 51 Group, led by Petchawat Wattanapongsirikul, the owner of the Grand Varoros Palace Hotel.

In the Northeast, red-shirt partnerships consist of the Khon Rak Udon Thani Group, DAAD's Khon Kaen Group, North Isaan Group and the South Isaan Group.

The core group in the Northeast is the Khon Rak Udon Thani group that is led by community radio host Kwanchai Praipana. He aims to get some 3,000 protesters from Udon Thani, plus a few thousand from Khon Kaen, Nakhon Ratchasima, and upper Northeast to head for Bangkok protest sites.

At provinces that are Newin Chidchob's political base, such as Buri Ram, Surin and Si Sa Ket, only a few hundred have shown interest in the red-shirt rallies.

In the Central region, several thousands of protesters, mainly from Ayutthaya and Pathum Thani, are headed for the City of Angels, while a few hundred red-shirt supporters are coming from the eastern provinces of Chantaburi and Chon Buri. Nakhon Si Thammarat is the only province in the South where a few hundred protesters, led by the Surachai Sae Dan, joined the protest.

2. The second group is made up of people who are against the Democrat-led government. These people drive their personal cars and join the rally in front of Government House every evening and go home at night. Most of them live in Bangkok, Samut Prakan, Nakhon Pathom, Nonthaburi and Pathum Thani.

3. The third group is made up of admirers of ousted prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra and of banned executives of the now-defunct Thai Rak Thai and People Power parties. Members of this group live in Bangkok and adjacent provinces. Like the second group, they don't stay overnight at the rally site.


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