Thai Junta Chairman To Tour Two Redshirt Provinces This Week

Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha visiting Sukhotai province, 12 Sept 2014.

BANGKOK — The chairman of Thailand’s military junta is scheduled to visit two northeastern provinces this week that are considered strongholds of the Redshirt movement.

Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha, who is also Prime Minister, will tour the provinces of Khon Kaen and Kalasin on 19 November, officials at the Government House said.

Officials say the junta leader is making the trip to collect opinions from the public about his administration of the country.

"He will listen to people about any problems they have, and he will use the same opportunity to explain about what the government has done, and what the government plans to do in the future," an official toldKhaosod today. 

The exact schedule will be finalized by Gen. Prayuth after he returns from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit in Myanmar, officials said.

Khon Kaen and Kalasin are among the northeastern provinces home to the Redshirts, a coalition of mostly rural and poor Thais who are fiercely loyal to former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra and his political dynasty. 

Though Thaksin was ousted by a military coup in 2006, he has continued to wield significant influence over political parties allied to him, including the Pheu Thai Party, whose administration was toppled by Gen. Prayuth in the 22 May coup. 

In the wake of the 22 May coup, the junta, formally known as the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO), has cracked down on the Redshirt network and Pheu Thai Party supporters by briefly detaining hundreds of politicians, activists, and academics perceived to be sympathetic to the former government. Most detainees were forced to sign agreements not to participate in any political activities as a condition of their release. 

The military has also banned public protests and sent violators to face trial in military court, where no appeals are possible.

 

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