This morning, Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva continued on his election campaign trail by visiting Samut Prakan. Large areas in the province have been declared “Red Zones” and as a result of a history of shootings, Samut Prakan has already been declared “Thailand’s most likely scene of poll-related violence”. Which is why the police today weren’t taking any chances.
In Samrong there were police stationed along the road at regular intervals. Down the side roads there was at least one policeman guarding every intersection, big or small. They were also guarding the pedestrian bridges. In addition, there were police standing next to any group that might cause trouble. Plain clothes policeman were also driving ahead on motorcycles videoing the crowd. Abhisit’s own bodyguards were often seen scanning the crowds and rooftops.
There weren’t really that many protesters, but the ones that came out were quickly surrounded by security personnel. Most of their banners were about the 91 deaths during the protests last year. In this picture taken at Samrong, the police were whisking this guy away from the route that Abhisit was taking. He wasn’t arrested though the policeman here was telling me to stop taking pictures.
This one-legged Red Shirt wasn’t moved away but he was quickly surrounded by security personnel. Abhisit passed here a few minutes later and didn’t even see him. Abhisit has come out in denouncing the bullying tactics of the Red Shirts. Personally I think people have a right to speak their mind. Isn’t that what a democracy is all about?As long as they are doing it in an orderly manner surely they should be allowed to show their banners to Abhisit?
Although there were Red Shirts out protesting Abhisit’s visit to Samut Prakan, there was no reported violence and certainly no eggs being thrown from what I saw. On the contrary, by far the majority of people gave Abhisit a warm welcome. I was also taking pictures during Yingluck’s visit to Paknam last week. I would say that Abhisit had just as many supporters here as Yingluck, if not more. I will post pictures of Abhisit’s visit to Samut Prakan soon on Thai-Blogs.com.