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Thailand: The Red-shirts

Updated On: Feb 02, 2009

This time, it is the red-shirts’ turn.

Suthep Thaugsuban, one of three deputy prime ministers, upheld the right of ousted premier Thaksin Shinawatra’s supporters to hold a mass rally but would not offer himself or the new Democrat Party-led government to resign.

Approximately 30,000 Thaksin red-shirted United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD) supporters marched and forced through the roadblocks guarded by 5000 police and soldiers armed with batons to the prime minister's Government House offices in Bangkok on 31 Jan 2009 late Saturday before dispersing. The police chiefs said they would not use force.

The red-shirted aimed at People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD) leaders now integrated within the new royalist Abhisit government. Previously the PAD had been the one holding the protests and marches.

Protest leaders vowed they will return to the streets in 15 days. In a letter intended for Mr Abhisit, they specifically demanded Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya and other figures linked to the PAD to resign and are prosecuted for the crimes of blockading the airport.

Other demands included the dissolution of parliament, new elections and the reimplementation of the 1997 constitution. The leaders of the red protests vowed that their next rally would be larger and last longer.

Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva simply waved away the red shirts’ demand at the World Economic Forum at Davos in Switzerland. He is facing an economy teetering on the brink of recession while the rural voters and Bangkok’s elites remained split in their political worldviews.

Sources:

ABC.net, "Protesters give Thai PM two weeks to step down " dated 1 
Feb 2009 in the ABC website [downloaded on 1 Feb 2009], available at  http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2009/02/01/2479235.htm?section=world

Channelnewsasia/AFP, "Thai government rejects protesters' calls to quit" dated 01 February 2009 in the Channelnewsasia website [downloaded on 1 Feb 2009], available at http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/afp_asiapacific/view/406166/1/.ht...







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