Bangkok protest: Suthep aims for 'endgame' in week ahead

Anti-government protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban.

THAILAND - Suthep Thaugsuban, leader of the People's Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC), announced yesterday that it will renew its fight against the government and the Shinawatra business empire as part of its "endgame" to uproot the Thaksin regime in the week ahead.

In a move to get people to boycott Shinawatra businesses, PDRC will tomorrow and on Tuesday get its supporters to "purchase" homes built by SC Assets Corp; rally at Voice TV, which is managed by Thaksin's son Panthongtae; as well as disrupt businesses run by Thaksin's daughters Pinthongta and Paethongtarn.

The PDRC aims to upset Shinawatra-owned businesses in a manner similar to the one used last week by PDRC co-leader Phra Buddha Issara, who booked into SC Park Hotel, which announced that that it was closing at 1pm on Thursday.

Other protesters would be sent to lay siege to state premises.

In the announcement, Suthep urged caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck to not run away or go in hiding, saying he knew that she has been living in a condominium on Ploenchit Road since Friday.

"Don't be afraid that you will get assassinated or believe that I will hunt you down. Actually, I just want to talk you into stepping down to make way for reforms," he said.

Suthep said the red shirts' decision to hold a rally today will only accelerate the "end of the game" and warned them against bullying PDRC protesters because they were"protected by popcorn traders". He was referring to men allegedly seen carrying military rifles hidden in a sack previously used for corn seed.

Caretaker Deputy PM and Finance Minister Kittirat Na-Ranong, meanwhile, expressed concern that the political crisis might affect the economy. In a Facebook post, he said the upheaval in Ukraine had not just claimed lives but its credit rating had also been downgraded from CCC+ to CCC.

He said Thailand's GDP has been revised down from 4 to 3 per cent because a new government has yet to be formed.

"It is likely that we are heading towards recession or lower growth than expected,'' he said.

Meanwhile, PDRC co-leader Thaworn Senneam said the group would file lawsuits against Yingluck and Chalerm Yoobamrung in his capacity as chief of the Centre for Maintaining Peace and Order (CMPO) in connection with the crackdown near the Phan Fah Lilat Bridge on Tuesday.

They will also sue national police chief Pol General Adul Saengsingkaew and Police Region 2 Commissioner Pol Lt-General Kawi Supanant.

Chalerm, however, expressed confidence that the Appeals Court would rule against the Civil Court verdict that was in favour of the protesters. The CMPO would appeal against the verdict tomorrow, Department of Special Investigation chief Tarit Pengdith said.

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