Chiang Mai Reds Vow Support For US Ambassador

Anti-government protesters confronting police officers in front of the US Embassy in Bangkok, 19 December 2013

(20 December) Representatives of Redshirts in Chiang Mai province have issued a statement vowing support for US Ambassador to Thailand in the aftermath of anti-government rally in front of US Embassy in Bangkok yesterday.


On 19 December over 500 protesters led by the Network of Students and People for Reform of Thailand (NSPRT) broke away from a large demonstration organised by the People′s Committee for Absolute Democracy With the King As Head of State and marched to the US Embassy, which was located on Wireless Road.
Mr. Uthai Yodmanee and Mr. Nititorn Lamluea, leaders of the NSPRT, said they want US President Barack Obama to remove US Ambassador Kristy Kenny from her position, accusing Ms. Kenny of tacitly supporting the government of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra by saying in previous interviews that she endorses the new election called by Ms. Yingluck.
Ms. Kenny′s statement has angered the protesters so much that one speaker on PCAD rally stage threatened to lead the protesters to storm into the US Embassy as a retaliation.
There were moments when it appeared the protesters were bent on breaking into the heavily fortified compound yesterday, with the NSPRT leaders demanding that the police retreat from their position around the embassy.
However, after a negotiation with Lumpini Police, the NSPRT agreed to withdraw from the embassy, but only after they raised the Thai national flag onto a makeshift flagpole and sang national anthem. 
In a response to the NSPRT′s rally, representatives of the Redshirts in northern province of Chiang Mai issued a statement praising Ms. Kenny′s endorsement of the new election, scheduled to be held on 2 February 2014.
The statement was jointly issued by United Front of Democracy Against Dicatorship (UDD) and the local Redshirts group called ?Rak Chiang Mai 51?.
“The NSPRT denounced you [Ms. Kenny] for supporting the election, which emphasise the importance and the necessity of the democratic regime, on 2 February 2014," the statement reads, "Their act, we must insist, does not correspond to the desire of many Thai people in this country.”
It continued, “We are ashamed of their decision. We understand that even though you are a foreigner, you have shown your love and understanding about Thailand and Thai culture in many occasions … We, Chiang Mai people, are supporting you".
The statement concluded by thanking Ms. Kenny′s efforts to strengthen Thai democracy.
Over 200 Redshirts also marched to the US Consulate in Chiang Mai to present the letter to the Consulate officials. Pol.Col. Aksorn Wongyai, Director of Mueang Chiang Mai Police, received the letter and promised to pass the statement to the US Ambassador.
The Chiang Mai Redshirts later marched to the Office of the Election Commission of Thailand (ECT) in the province, to demonstrate their support for the new general election.
Mr. Walter M. Braunohler, spokesman of the US Embassy in Bangkok, told Khaosod today that the US wishes to see peaceful solution in the ongoing Thai crisis.
In a telephone interview, he firmly denied the allegations made by the anti-government protesters, stating that the United States has no wish to interfere in the Thai politics. 

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