Up to 1,000 expected at anti-coup rally
Sept 19 activists say others welcome, too
The September 19 anti-coup group is going ahead with its plan to stage a rally at Sanam Luang today, and expects up to 1,000 participants.
The group will be the only anti-coup group to rally today after other groups led by Thaikorn Polsuwan, Theppanom Siriwithayarak and Chanaphat na Nakhon pulled out.
Sombat Boonngamanong, a key member of the September 19 group, said he expected 500 to 1,000 protesters to join. They would march from Sanam Luang to the Democracy Monument on Ratchadamnoen Avenue where they will burn a copy of the Council for National Security's (CNS) interim charter.
Mr Sombat said his group's rally is a genuine expression of political opinion, and guaranteed no violence would erupt.
"The group's supporters from provincial areas will travel to Bangkok to join the rally of their free will. It's not a set up as some alleged," he said.
Chotsak Onsoong, another member of the group, said his group will not share its stage at the rally with other activists.
Other groups were welcome to join as long as they did not cause any turbulence, he said.
Weng Tojirakarn, leader of the Democracy Federation who witnessed Mr Sombat's press conference yesterday, said he questioned the motivation of Mr Thaikorn's and Mr Chanaphat's political activities.
He believed both worked for the military and intended to derail the anti-coup rally.
"But I don't think the military will get what they want. After Sept 19, many people have opposed the coup," Mr Weng said.
"About 1,800 soldiers have been dispatched to communities around the country to control people. This contradicts the CNS's words that the coup was a non-violent one," he said.
He added the CNS should not be paranoid about a rally led by civilians, but instead should beware of a counter-coup by their colleagues. Mr Weng called for the CNS to lift martial law to prove its sincerity.
Former prime minister Anand Panyarachun yesterday expressed confidence that the CNS and government would be able to keep anti-coup movements under control.
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