Thailand’s United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD), or Red Shirts, Saturday started a three—day mass rally in support of the caretaker government.
Several thousand supporters gathered at the rally site on Utthayan Road on the outskirts of capital Bangkok. UDD leaders had earlier predicted that up to 500,000 people nationwide would join the rally, Xinhua reported.
The rally was called soon after the Constitutional Court March 20 annulled the Feb 2 general elections.
The government—run Centre for Administration of Peace and Order (CAPO) will deploy more than 3,000 police officers and soldiers to provide security at the rally site, CAPO spokeswoman Sirima Sunawin said.
Moreover, as demanded by the CAPO, commander of the First Army Division Apirat Kongsompong has ordered the deployment of 300 soldiers to help maintain security during the rally.
Caretaker Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Surapong Tovichakchaikul said Saturday that he expected no violence to take place at the rally site.
Anti—government protesters also staged their own rally on Saturday at the Lumpini Park in downtown Bangkok, a long way from the site of Red Shirts’ rally.
Protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban earlier Saturday met with co—leaders from all across the country to map out their next moves.
Over the past few days, Suthep has led protesters to different government offices to seek support from state officials.
Surapong, also chief advisor of the CAPO, said he had instructed that security be tightened to prevent both rallies from being attacked by any third party.