On Sunday 22 March anti-governmental demonstrators returned to Chiang Mai, where they staged “red shirt” rally at the 700 Year Stadium in support of exiled ex-prime minister, Thaksin Shinawatra. The political event was organised by leaders of the United Front for Democracy (UDD), as an event in its ‘Roving Truth Today’ talk show series. A feature of the rally was a two-way satellite link with the ex-prime minister, who spoke from an undisclosed location.
Nearly 10,000 of his supporters attended the event, which also included members of the Rak Chiang Mai 51 group, controversial due to its predisposition to violent activity. Violent acts in the past have led to numerous members breaking away from the group to form other organizations.
In his remarks to the crowd, during which he spoke in the northern Lanna Thai dialect, the ex-prime minister attacked the economic policies of the current government, asserting that the policies were not only the incorrect approach to solving the current problems but in fact caused additional suffering for the majority of Thais.
Thaksin Shinawatra assured his supporters that if he were to be returned to the office of prime minister he would be able to provide a solution to the current financial crisis.