More than 2,000 supporters of ousted Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra rallied Saturday at a golf course they claim was illegally built and linked to the king’s top aide, police said.
The gathering of the so-called “Red Shirts” is the second this year against alleged judicial double standards, apparently aimed at building support for big new anti-government rallies promised by the movement in coming weeks.
Police Colonel Suthee Thipsuk said more than 2,000 protesters rallied peacefully at the golf course in the southeastern province of Chanthaburi, with 450 security forces present.
“I intend to show that there are double standards in enforcing the law in this country, where royal advisers have intimidated government officials to stop them performing their duty,” said Veera Musikapong, a Red Shirt leader.
Prem, 89, also a top adviser to Bangkok Bank, “has collaborated and protected Soi Dao Highland Golf Club, in which many owners of Bangkok Bank are also major shareholders,” charged another Red Shirt leader Jatuporn Prompan.
The Red Shirts believe former army chief Prem was the mastermind behind the coup that deposed Thaksin in 2006.
Thaksin, who is living abroad to avoid a two-year jail term for corruption, was expected to give a speech via video-link to the rally late Saturday.
Earlier this month the Red Shirts protested outside the weekend home of another royal aide and ex-premier Surayud Chulanont, claiming it was also built illegally in the Khao Yai Tieng forest, northeast of Bangkok.
Surayud has since surrendered the property after the Forestry Department stripped him of his right to own the land.
The Red Shirts have held a series of protests calling for the resignation of current prime minister Abhisit Vejjajiva, who took power in December 2008 following the collapse of the previous pro-Thaksin government.
The group’s leaders say they expect up to one million protesters to join a rally in Bangkok next month ahead of a court ruling on Thaksin’s fortune worth 76 billion baht (2.2 billion dollars), which was frozen in the months after the coup.