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A Phuket demonstrator vents his anger behind police protest lines

Phuket Red Rally Abandoned: Police Guard Yellow Protesters

Sunday, May 13, 2012
PHUKET: A line of police with batons guarded yellow-shirt protesters as red shirts abandoned a planned rally on Phuket this afternoon.

The police had at one stage been readied with riot shields but today's non-violent confrontation was deemed to be a situation that could be controlled with batons alone.

Observers estimated that there were 150 police, 200 yellow shirt protesters and 50 red shirts. At no stage did today's protest seem likely to get out of hand.

There was no sign of the red rally ever attracting the audience of 2000 anticipated to hear senior red leaders who were due to arrive from Bangkok to take the stage.

Concern that the reds might be trying to declare quiet Nai Yang, on Phuket's west coast, a ''red village'' brought protests over several days by the ostensibly non-political ''We Love Phuket'' movement.

More overtly yellow supporters appeared on Phuket today among the crowd that gathered to jeer and boo and wave placards condemning the reds for trying to infiltrate Phuket.

The red rally, initially planned for the Rotcharin Seafood restaurant at Nai Yang, was tranferred to Thalang Technical College, with the protesters confined to the airport road outside.

The gathering had been due to assemble at 3pm but well before then it was plain the audience was not going to be substantial. By 3.50pm, the plan had been abandoned.

Tourists, including a group in a red tuk-tuk, encountered the demonstration but seemed to be bemused by the excitement.

Phuket has long been a yellow shirt and Democrat opposition stronghold. Opposition to the move within Nai Yang itself doomed the red shirt plan from the beginning.


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