- Title: THAILAND: Anti-government "Red-shirt" protesters rally in Bangkok
- Date: 1st November 2010
- Summary: BANGKOK, THAILAND (OCTOBER 31, 2010) (REUTERS) PROTESTERS GATHERING AT SHOPPING DISTRICT OF RATCHAPRASONG PROTESTER CARRYING PLACARD SHOWING PICTURES OF CRACKDOWN POLICE STANDING GUARD VARIOUS OF PROTESTERS ACTING AS DEAD BODIES PROTESTERS WEARING RABBIT GLASSES VARIOUS OF PROTESTERS ON BICYCLES (SOUNDBITE) (Thai) RED SUNDAY GROUP LEADER, SOMBAT BOONNGARM-ANONG, SAYING: "This activity is to raise the issue on political prisoners - that in Thailand the prisoners who cannot be granted bails are those who have different ideas on politics. In our opinion, we believe that the red-shirt protesters are victims and we are the ones who get detained." VARIOUS OF BIKES LEAVING
- Embargoed: 16th November 2010 12:00
- Location: Thailand
- Country: Thailand
- Topics: Domestic Politics
- Reuters ID: LVADECQGOF3VU8J5D5AM9NESM6HU
- Story Text: Around 300 anti-government "red shirts" demonstrate in Bangkok to demand the release of detainees held after a military crackdown early this year.
Around 300 red-shirted protesters held a peaceful rally in downtown Bangkok on Sunday(October 31) to call for the release of their leaders and comrades detained after a military crackdown in April and May.
The protest included some 50 bicycles on a 1,700-kilometre bike-tour starting in Bangkok and traveling around the red shirts' northeast strongholds to court support and push for an end to what they call judicial "double standards".
Hundreds of police were deployed to keep security in the area, as Bangkok is still under a state of emergency after 10 weeks of paralysing protests in April and May that ended with 91 people dead and nearly 2,000 wounded.
Wearing make-up, some protesters acted as dead people, to condemn the government on the crackdown that brought the protests to a violent end.
The red shirts have demanded that those behind the deaths should be brought to justice, and denounced how authorities have charged red shirt leaders with terrorist offences over the deaths.
"This activity is to raise the issue on political prisoners - that in Thailand the prisoners who cannot be granted bails are those who have different ideas on politics. In our opinion, we believe that the red-shirt protesters are victims and we are the ones who get detained," said Red Sunday Group leader Sombat Boonngarm-anong.
Thailand's political crisis broadly pits the mostly urban and rural working-class red shirts against establishment elite royalists and the military, which back the current Democrat-led government of Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva.
The protesters, many of which support the twice-elected former premier Thaksin Shinawatra, say democracy and the judiciary has been undermined by their powerful opponents and have demanded immediate elections, which Abhisit is refusing to call until peace is restored.
Analysts say the crisis could escalate if the opposition Puea Thai Party, which is backed by the coup-ousted Thaksin, wins most seats in the next election and displaces the military-backed Democrats, who enjoy support from Thailand's middle-class who despises Thaksin.
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