Thai Red Shirts make new protest pledge for New Year

January 9, 2011 13:56

BANGKOK — Thousands of anti-government demonstrators marched in Bangkok on Sunday, saying they had learned lessons from chaotic violence last year and had a new strategy for the new year.

About 10,000 "Red Shirt" protesters gathered at Bangkok's Democracy Monument and clogged traffic as they marched to an upscale shopping area where massive crowds of protesters had camped for weeks last year before soldiers swept through and arrested top protest leaders.A brief scuffle occurred Sunday at the shopping area's main intersection, which police had attempted to seal off with barricades. A few hundred protesters hurled plastic water bottles and pushed past the police, who stepped aside to avoid further conflict. The larger protest appeared to be peaceful.

Jatuporn Prompan, a Red Shirt leader who avoided arrest because he has parliamentary immunity, vowed to hold "frequent and symbolic gatherings" twice a month— a change from the large sit-in last year that lasted 10 weeks and prompted a violent crackdown.

"We have learned a lesson that big gatherings will not lead to the result we want," Jatuporn said.

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