“Red Shirt” demonstrators held a huge gathering in Bangkok on March 12 to mark one year since protests turned violence, killing some 90 people.
Police estimated 10,000 “Red Shirt” demonstrators flocked to the Democracy Monument on Ratchadamnern street , adjacent to the political and administrative centre of Thailand . Some out-on-bail leaders of the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD), which leads the movement, also took part in the demonstration.
Police predicted some 40,000 would join the gathering with the number to surge in the evening as many expect “Red Shirt” leaders to deliver speeches and former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra to give a video-link address.
The rally is believed to be the largest held by the “Red Shirt” since May, 2010, when the Government sent troops to end the prolonged protests. After the crack-down, 19 UDD leaders were arrested on charges of terrorism.
Some 3,500 police have moved in streets around the Red Shirts’ rally. Deputy Prime Minister in charge of security Suthep Thaugsuban said police are able to keep security and will be backed by stand-by military just in case. He added this “Red Shirt” demonstration could not prolong as Thai people are looking forwards to a general election expected to take place by late June or early July.
Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva announced on March 11 that he would dismiss the lower house in the first week of May, making the general election to get its way ahead of schedule.
Thai law rules that general elections must be held within 45-60 days after the lower house is dismissed. If the lower house is dismissed early May, the general election will take place late June or early July./.