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    Red Shirts Hold Peaceful Protest in Bangkok, Thailand


    by NTDTelevision

    Red-shirt anti-government protesters held a peaceful protest in Bangkok, Thailand over the weekend. It was to mark the fourth anniversary of a military coup in the country. They aim to keep up the pressure on the government to end what they say are unlawful political detentions and broad media censorship.

    Thousands of Thai anti-government protesters held simultaneous rallies in Bangkok on Sunday in their biggest demonstrations since a deadly military crackdown four months ago.

    To defy the banning of gathering of more than five people, the "red shirt" protesters have gathered at a popular shopping district.

    [Toy, Protestor]:
    "We need Thai and foreigners to realize that our country is governed by a dictatorship through a military coup. Any countries that are governed by either dictatorship or through a military coup cannot develop."

    Although the emergency decree bans political gatherings, the government allowed the rally to go ahead, provided there was no violence and traffic was not blocked. But the protesters did slow down traffic, but said they didn't mean any harm.

    [Thongbai, Protestor]:
    "We red-shirted people don't intend to make trouble for anyone. We just want to express to everyone in the world that we love democracy and are ready to fight without violence."

    The protestors' group leader says the rallies will continue every week with different activities.

    [Sombat Boonngarm-anong, Protestor Leader]:
    "We will continue our rally but we will change to different activities. The mass rally like this might not happen again soon but we will hold small activities -- like bicycle rallies."

    A nine-week rally by the red shirts drew as many as 150 thousand people at its peak in March, demanding the dissolution of parliament and immediate elections.

    Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva (ab-hi-sit way-JAH-jey-vah) has said an election is not likely this year and the controversial decree is necessary to ensure peace and stability.