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Phuket PAD protesters are not done yet, says Aparat Chutikamjorn.

Phuket's Yellow Heart Still Beats for PAD

Friday, April 1, 2011
PHUKET'S branch of yellow politics, the People's Alliance for Democracy, is still going strong despite talk the movement will disband, says Phuket leader Aparat Chutikamjorn.

In fact, she says, there's a small PAD benefit concert for Japan at Central Festival in Phuket City from 5pm on Sunday where PAD t-shirts and souvenirs will be sold for quake and tsunami relief.

''Phuket is still a yellow heartland and we are continuing our activities,'' Khun Aparat told Phuketwan today.

Yellow is the color that Phuket may still be but the senior leaders of the PAD in Bangkok are now talking about shutting down the popular public movement that helped to sweep Abhisit Vejjajiva and the Deocrats to power with airport occupations in 2008.

First it was Phuket airport in August, where a three-day blockade turned out to be a practice run for the tide-turning invasion and week-long sit-down that brought flights in and out of Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi Airport to a halt.

Since then the relationship between the yellow shirts and the Democrats has soured, with the PAD, ultra-nationalistic on some issues, protesting strongly over the ''soft'' approach of the Government in the dispute with Cambodia over a border temple.

There's also the pending national election, expected to be called for early June, when the PAD will support its own New Politics Party.

Just what this will mean in Phuket and other southern provinces, where the Democrats have traditionally held sway, is anyone's guess for now.

But the PAD, which once attracted huge audiences on Phuket, failed to pull a crowd of any size when it called a public meeting recently over the Cambodia border issue. It appears to be a fizzer non-issue in the eyes of many.

The red movement, on the other hand, seems to have grown stronger since last year's deadly Bangkok street rally and drew representatives from 14 southern provinces to a ''summit'' on Phuket.

Khun Aparat, politically-aware daughter of a Phuket family, is deeply committed to the yellow cause, whether through the PAD or the New Politics Party.

''Phuket is happy to follow whatever the national decision might be,'' she said. ''We remain a free movement committed to whatever the majority decides.

''If more than 50 percent of members want the PAD to fold, that is what we will do.''

A lively national meeting can be expected on April 24, especially as a survey of 1500 voters recently revealed that Thailand has a sizeable silent majority: only 25 percent of respondents supported wither the red or yellow side of politics.

The remainder were not committed to any color, except perhaps neutral shades of grey.
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