51 percent support Thai government’s action against Red Shirt protesters


A recent survey conducted by Suan Dusit Poll revealed that many respondents supported the government’s plan to send in troops to deal with the seven-week, anti-government protest at Bangkok’s Ratchaprasong commercial district.

The survey involved 1,387 respondents across the country.

51.33 percent said they agreed with the government’s move to reclaim Ratchaprasong by cutting the power, water, and food supplies to the protest venue, as the country and the economy could be further damaged if it persisted.

40.16 percent disagreed with the government’s move, as it had resulted in the loss of lives and properties, adding that the country’s image would be more negative. They said they did not want to see people from the same country killing each other.

Asked about the attack on Red Shirt leader and rogue army officer Maj. Gen. Khattiya Sawasdipol, known as Seh Daeng, 49.06 percent said they felt sorry for Seh Daeng. 36.73 percent condemned the attack. 14.21 percent said the attack on Seh Daeng would bring both positive and negative effects on the government and the anti-government United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD).

The chaos which filled city streets failed to abate when the government announced last night that it would step up pressure on the Red Shirt protesters and use force to control violence emerging from a group of so-called “terrorists.”

The Red-Shirted United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship leaders insisted they, too, would continue fighting from their main rally site at the Ratchaprasong area, despite the fact that their food supply has been almost completely cut off.

The Centre for the Resolution of the Emergency Situation, which is directing the government’s response to the protest, sealed off all routes heading to Ratchaprasong.

Clashes yesterday stemmed from efforts by the Red Shirts to reopen their supply lines.

At least 24 civilians have been killed and almost 200 people wounded since the violence renewed on Friday.

The clashes yesterday spread out far from the Ratchaprasong area to cover Rama IV Road, the Lumpini area, Bon Kai, Wireless Road, Ratchaprarop Road, and the Din Daeng area.

Automatic weapons, M79 grenades, burning tires, firecrackers, and Molotov cocktails were common weapons used.

Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva and the CRES said most of those killed were the victims of terrorist attacks or had turned on each other.

61.98 percent said the Seh Daeng incident would exacerbate the situation as it would bring more hatred and retribution among the demonstrators.

On the respondents’ ways to deal with the rally if they run the government, 53.25 percent said they would continue negotiating with the protest leaders. 17.12 percent said they would take action and make decisions more cautiously.