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Firebrand hardliner named new red shirts' leader

Published on Mar 15, 2014 11:30 PM

FORMER MP Jatuporn Promphan is named leader of the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD) - an umbrella organisation for the pro-government "red shirt'' movement on Saturday.

Considered a political hawk, he replaced the more conservative Ms Thida Tawornseth, who had chaired the organisation since December 2010.

Ms Thida, her husband Dr Weng Tojirakarn, and another co-leader Veera Musigapong, are among those UDD leaders who have been urging the movement to exercise restraint and not resort to violence during the current anti-government protests calling for Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra to step aside in favour of an unelected "people's council".

Mr Jatuporn is considered a hardliner because of his mobilisation of the red shirts in street protests in 2009 and 2010, and his controversial firebrand public speaking stirring up supporters. He was one of the leaders who rejected an offer of an election, and insisted the red shirts stay encamped at their protest site in central Bangkok in 2010 - a decision that inevitably led to more violence.

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