Campaign for the prisoned candidate, ‘same same’

Bangkok, July 24

“For the liberty of the people, the equality of the public, democracy in Thailand and for the world to know that Thai people hate injustice, vote number four — Korkaew,”

was read out by a member of the opposition Pheu Thai party at the stage in Suan Siam on July 23. It was a same message of SMS sent by Mr. Korkaew, the candidate of Pheu Thai party running for sunday’s by election, from Bangkok Remand Prison. Mr.Korkaew Pikulthong has not been allowed to outdoor campaign nor accepted release on bail from the prison, where most of Red Shirts leaders have been held. Instead, the supporters – one can say all are Red Shirts –  rallyed in giant number to show their support for this jailed candidate.

It was rather intesting to observe the gathering for the first time since the bloody crackdown of May 19, as the atmosphere of the rally was not much different from what the Red Shirts had appeared in their month long rally. Lots of vendors were selling various Red Shirts, CD or DVD of those bloody days and photos of their jailed leaders. Food stalls were never missing. – This is Thailand!-  Absolute majority of those who were filled at front rows were women cheering with ‘feet clapping’ or ‘Red heart clapping’ stuff. Fellow journalists and I made a joke of this ‘same same’ rally. They effectively used the election campaign for their longing but suppressed rights to assemble. Why not?

There’s said to be a plan of  ‘Red aerobic dance’ in Lumbini park, where aerobic dance in collective are often seen.  Would the Red Shirts be disappeared by Emegency Decree or power wielding measures…?

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Several thousands Red Shirts gather at Suan Siam (or "Siam Park") on July 23 to campaign for the prisoned candidate Korkaew Pikulthong. Mr. Korkaew is a candidate for the opposition Pheu Thai party running for sunday's by-election. He is also one of the core Red Shirts leaders who have been prisoned with charges of terrorism. (Photo @ Yu K. Lee)

Several thousands Red Shirts gather at Suan Siam (or "Siam Park") on July 23 to campaign for the prisoned candidate Korkaew Pikulthong. Mr. Korkaew is a candidate for the opposition Pheu Thai party running for sunday's by-election. He is also one of the core Red Shirts leaders who have been prisoned with charges of terrorism. (Photo @ Yu K. Lee)

Except some MPs and leading figures on the stage, the atmosphere of the rally appeared to be 'same same' to what the Red Shirts rally had looked like (Photo @ Yu K. Lee)

Pheu Thai MP Mr. Jatuporn Prompen is one and only free leader out of dozens Red Shirts leaders, who have been either prisoned or fled.

A woman wearing Jatuporn-featured Red Shirts listens to the speaker of the stage. (Photo @ Yu K. Lee)

Several thousands Red Shirts gather at Suan Siam (or "Siam Park") on July 23 to campaign for the prisoned candidate Korkaew Pikulthong, who is one of the Red SHirts core leaders. The rally didn't much differ from the previous Red Shirts rally, reflecting resilience of Red Shirts. (Photo @ Yu K. Lee)

A Red Shirts women looks at the Red shirts paper, which featured the May 19 crackdown (Photo @ Yu K. Lee)

Several thousands Red Shirts gather at Suan Siam (or “Siam Park”) on July 23 to campaign for the prisoned candidate Korkaew Pikulthong. Mr. Korkaew is a candidate for the opposition Pheu Thai party running for sunday’s by-election. He is also one of the core Red Shirts leaders who have been prisoned with charges of terrorism. (Photo @ Yu K. Lee)

Mr.Panich Viktsreth (right in the picture), the candidate for Democrats is 'exclusivley' enjoying his election campaign for sunday's by election as his prisoned competitor Mr. Korkaew has not been allowed to outdoor campaign nor accepted release on bail. There are critical voices questioning Pheu Thai party as to why the party nominated a 'terrorism charged and jailed-person' for its candidate. (Photo @ Yu K. Lee)

Mr. Korkaew is a candidate for the opposition Pheu Thai party running for sunday’s by-election. He is also one of the core Red Shirts leaders who have been prisoned with charges of terrorism. (Photo @ Yu K. Lee)

Bangkok Remand Prison, from where Mr. Korkaew Pikulthong has been 'campaigning' such as sending SMS or hand-written message to voters. Foreign media is not allow to access the jailed candidate or other Red Shirts leaders who have been charges of terrorism and detained in the prison (Photo @ Yu K. Lee)

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