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White shirt peace group upset at lack of support

Published on February 16, 2010

  A former leader of the "white-shirt" people for the end of political violence said the group was unlikely to come out on the streets, as it was fed up by the lack of popular support.  


The news comes despite fears of political violence linked to Thaksin Shinawatra's judgement day at the end of next week and two bomb incidents over the weekend.


"I'm not going to do anything anymore," former white-shirt leader Chaiwat Thirapanthu said. "Let them do what they like."

"I'm not going to do anything anymore," former white-shirt leader Chaiwat Thirapanthu said. "Let them do what they like."

Chaiwat said yesterday afternoon that former white-shirt people had not been in touch to discuss the latest incidents. He thought the bomb at the Supreme Court and grenade explosion near Government House were part of an attempt by a group of unknown people to attract political attention.

"The more we pay attention to them the more they will create the situation," he said.

Chaiwat conceded that his group's previous attempt in mid-2008 to call for an end to political violence had not been heeded.

"What can white-shirts do? It's useless to say something. Let us see: whatever will be, will be. When the times come, things will be over and let's not be afraid of it," he said, adding that he felt helpless if there was going to be yet another coup.

Non-violence expert Eakpant Pindavanija, from Mahidol University's Centre for Peace Building, said a coup be a big blow to a society whose political and economic systems were already weak.

"If they want Thailand to go fully bust, then they should stage a coup," he said.

Eakpant said Army chiefs and members of the public of all political stripes should know that a coup would not provide a political solution.

"It has been proven many times. Thais, disregarding their political standing, should say no to a coup because another coup would be such a blow to politics, society and the economy. I personally do not believe there's going to be a coup though."

The peace expert urged people who want to see things resolved peacefully to send a clear message of non-violence through the mass media. He asked the media to set up a hotline to amplify the views of people who wish to see peaceful political struggle.

He also warned red-shirt Democratic Alliance Against Dictatorship leaders not to resort to rallies at different sites at the same time as they would make it harder to ensure peace. "It's hard to control. Those who lead the demonstrations must be held accountable."
Eakpant, who said previously people should not dehumanise their poitical opponents, also urged both yellow-shirt and red-shirt leaders not to hold rallies too close to one another as that could easily lead to violent confrontation.

Holding different rallies at Sanam Luang and the Royal Plaza at the same time would be too close for comfort, he said.

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Research Center for Peace Building (Old) Institute of Human Rights and Peace Studies, Mahidol University
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