>PAD on the move

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The anti-government coalition People’s Alliance for Democracy on Saturday morning marched to the revered Wat Phra Kaew (Temple of the Emerald Buddha) to oppose government plans to amend the constitution – and to pray for Thailand to regain the Preah Vihear temple from Cambodia.

More than 200 democracy-activist PAD security guards provided security as the demonstrators trudged from their main protest site at Makkhawan Rangsan Bridge, passing by the Democracy Monument to go to the Temple of the Emerald Buddha.

Historically the private chapel of the kings of the present Chakri dynasty, the Temple of the Emerald Buddha is the spiritual ‘heart’ of Thailand.

The number of Bangkok police on duty has also been reinforced to make sure that pro-government groups would not attack the anti-government PAD during its demonstration.

More PAD supporters from upcountry joined the rally late Friday amid a downpour.

The 11th century Preah Vihear temple was awarded to Cambodia by the International Court of Justice in 1962 and was declared a World Heritage site in early July. The two neighbouring countries are now locked in a dispute over a 4.6-square-kilometre overlapping zone surrounding the temple.

PAD demonstrators led by another core leader, Sondhi Limthongkul, on Friday held a ritual ceremony and sought a ‘blessing from the sun’ during Friday’s eclipse, with the purpose of driving away evil and that Thailand could get back Preah Vihear temple.

The event was held after Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen’s wife hosted a ritual at the Preah Vihear temple, also on Friday, to bless her country with good luck and to also give it power for its dispute with Thailand.

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