Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Thida: Reds to distribute aid

The red-shirt supporters of the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship will begin flood relief operations on Friday, UDD chairwoman Thida Thavornseth declared on Wednesday.

Ms Thida said a concert would be held at the Imperial Department Store at Lat Phrao in Bangkok and another in Nakhon Ratchasima to garner donations on Oct 14.

A centre to receive flood donations would also be set up at the Imperial Department Store, Lat Phrao and Ngam Wong Wan branches. The centres would remain open in the long run.

From Oct 15 the red shirts would distribute donated products in flood-hit areas in Lop Buri, Chai Nat, Nakhon Sawan and other provinces as determined by local red-shirt leaders, she said.

"The flood situation is now critical, but it is also an opportunity for us to show society that the red-shirts are full of spirit and friendly to people of all colour codes," Ms Thida said.

Ms Thida said society should be more open to opposing arguments. The UDD wanted the Defence Ministry Administration Act and more than 100 other laws enacted after the Sept 19, 2006 coup abolished.

UDD spokesman Worawut Wichaidit thanked opposition leader Abhisit Vejjajiva for visiting the national flood relief centre, saying that it was a good sign for the country.

However, he said the Democrat Party should learn when to keep quiet because a few days earlier its members questioned why Jatuporn Prompan, a UDD leader, paid no attention to the flooding but went to open a red-shirt village in Udon Thani instead.

Foreign lawyer Robert Amsterdam, who has been retained by former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, said on Wednesday he was glad to be visiting Thailand again.

He said it was very important to establish truth of what happened during last year's bloodshed, when so many peoplelost their life, otherwise democracy would not evolve in Thailand. The soldiers involved could not be left unpunished. There should not be laws to allow a coup to happen, Mr Amsterdam said.

He said soldiers should not be allowed to make political comments, but he frequently heard Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha, the army chief, talk about Thai political issues.

Mr Amsterdam said he recently visited some red-shirt people in prison, and they were in a very poor condition.

They should not have been jailed on security-related charges, but should have been allowed bail, Mr Amsterdam added.
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