The Red Shirts in Ayutthaya
October 21st, 2010 by Nick Nostitz, Guest Contributor · 10 Comments
On Sunday, 17 October 2010, the Red Shirts held a gathering in Ayutthaya. Red Shirts came from many provinces; altogether slightly over 10,000 gathered in Ayutthaya's sports stadium. I drove on my motorcycle from Bangkok and on the way I passed many Red Shirts in cars and pick-up trucks, and on motorcycles.
There were many police security checkpoints along the road, who let most Red Shirts through unhindered. For some Red Shirts the journey was not without problems — a guard from Ang Thong province told me that the caravan from the north met around Chainat province with so called "Lueah Bai" (spikes made from large nails), which disabled several cars.
At the sports stadium there was a massive Red Shirt market, selling OTOP products, amulets, Red Shirt paraphernalia, and food. The entry was under heavy security, protesters had to pass scanners, and members of the bomb squad were there as well. The protester blinded by a bullet on 19 May 2010 in front of the Phuea Thai Headquarters sold lottery tickets, and relatives of protesters killed on 10 April collected donations.
Inside the outdoor stadium the lawn was quite muddy, but it soon filled up with Red Shirts. Speakers I noticed were Sombat Boonngamanong of Red Sunday fame, Somyod Prueksakasemsuk, the leader of the June 24th Group (who acted as official organizers of the rally), Rambo Isaarn's younger brother, and the local Phuea Thai MP Surachet. Surachai Sae Dan from the radical "Daeng Siam" group was there as well, but did not take the stage. When a helicopter flew over the ground protesters shouted abuse. Two Red Shirts in military uniforms play acted beating up a protester in a prisoner's uniform wearing a mask of Nattawut Saikua's face.
I took a break. When I returned to the stage area, Deputy House speaker and Phuea Thai MP Col. Dr. Apiwan Wiriyachai was on the stage. Then it was Jatuporn's turn. He first sang a few songs. He gave much space during his speech to attack Methi — the former Red Shirt activist and now government witness. Jatuporn attacked the Department for Special Investigation (DSI) over the arrests of the 11 in Chiangmai and the Nonthaburi Bomb, and decried the different standards applied with bail applications for the People's Alliance for Democracy and the Red Shirts.
After Jatuporn's speech the event ended with fabulous fireworks, and a concert afterwards.