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Thai yellow-shirt leaders resign

BANGKOK, Aug. 24 (Xinhua) — The leaders of the anti-Thaksin yellow-shirt camp, who seized Bangkok international airport in 2008, have announced they will no longer lead the movement.

Eight core members of the People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD) on Friday night showed up in a special program on PAD’s mouthpiece ASTV TV channel, blaming its former ally opposition Democrat Party for not resigning as members of parliament (MPs) and helps lead street demonstration against the Phue Thai-led government.

“[PAD supporters] must understand our decisions. That is because all the cards have been revealed. We hope [the Democrat] would sacrifice and join us, but since they refused to do so, we will no longer play the game,” said PAD leader Sondhi Limthongkul.

Sondhi, speaking on ASTV in early August, urged all Democrat MPs to resign as parliamentarians to lead anti-government protest after the leading party aimed to push for the controversial amnesty bill, believed to white-wash the yellow-shirt arch enemy former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra.

In 2005, protesters, mostly comprised middle class Bangkokians against Thaksin, formed the PAD camp. The protest paved way for the 2006 military coup which ousted Thaksin and a conviction of him on corruption cases.

Thaksin have long been reportedly administered Phue Thai party behind the scenes, although he has lived in self-exile since 2008.

The PAD continued its movement and held protests from time to time against the Thaksin-affiliated parties.

The yellow-shirts’ months-long anti-Thaksin demonstration, which included the seizure of Government House and Thailand’s main international Suvarnabhumi Airport in 2008, contributed to the collapse of a leading Thaksin-affiliated party, which resulted in the Democrat leading a coalition government that lasted for about two and a half years.

The PAD leaders later cut ties with the Democrat after PAD leaders faced terrorism charges and the Democrat seemed not to facilitate them.

“PAD leaders, speakers, artists and supporters [in 2008 protest] were defamed with false charges and allegations. Plus, 96 more [ PAD members] were unfairly charged during Democrat-led government, ” states the PAD “final statement” released Friday.

The PAD leaders have been freed on the bail condition that they will not participate in any political demonstration.

“If the PAD leaders are to break the bail condition in order to lead protest, they should be assured that they could really change Thailand,” the statement says. “The sacrifice of PAD leaders is not for promotion of the opposition party who would always be defeated in any parliamentary vote because the government outnumbers them.”

Meanwhile, Democrat MP Ong-Art Klampaiboon, former prime minister’s office minister, responded to PAD’s statement that the party accepted the camp’s decision. He also insisted that the party still has amicable ties with the yellow-shirts. However, the demands on Democrat MPs to resign, he said, went too far.

A historian at leading Thammasat University in Bangkok and critic of PAD, Somsak Jeamteerasakul, also commented on his social network page that he is regret to see an influential political movement like PAD failed to develop into an established political party.

“Failure of people, in any color, in establishing a real [ political] organization is not good for democracy,” the critic said.


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