Red shirts blame media censorship for their continued presence in Rajprasong area
Despite the bid for reconciliation by Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva, the continued censorship and harassment of red-shirt media is a key factor why the protesters and their leaders have not left the Rajprasong area yet.
A host on the red shirts' FM 101.25 community radio, which is relayed through 200 stations nationwide, received an arrest warrant on Thursday and reported to police yesterday.
Supporters of the station expressed outraged yesterday morning as they called phone-in programmes to denounce Abhisit as a liar.
"This government lies and uses verbal trickery to survive on a daily basis," one caller asserted.
Radio host Pongamporn Bandasak, who was issued an arrest warrant, yesterday morning told listeners to remain calm but be ready to defend the station.
Elsewhere, the online newspaper Prachatai.com, which is deemed sympathetic to the red shirts, has been blocked repeatedly by the government.
Sawatree Suksri, a law lecturer at Thammasat University and an expert on cyberspace-related law, denounced the rampant blocking of websites under the emergency decree at a seminar on Thursday and claimed some 400 websites might have been "secretly" blocked by the Information and Communications Technology Ministry on a daily basis.
Abhisit has so far refused to say when the red-shirt media that have been blocked or shut down, including the People's Channel, would be returned. Others say the continued heavy deployment of armed soldiers and the lack of a concrete schedule to lift the emergency decree - as well as the continued threat to use force to disperse the crowd - is not fostering a climate of reconciliation.
On Thursday, some troops were reportedly closing in on protesters, while yesterday morning saw a helicopter flying over the crowd.
For hard-core red-shirt protesters like Noi, who described herself as a "well-educated civil servant", the reconciliation gesture by the PM, including the road map, is less than sufficient.
"It may be good that we're not dispersing, because those responsible for the April 10 killing have not been brought to justice yet," she said.