Red-shirted supporters of former Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra postponed a salvo of rallies originally slated for Sunday, the latest sign that Thailand’s long-running political crisis remains unresolved.
Last Tuesday, Thailand’s Cabinet had approved the invoking of an internal security law to keep order at the anti-government rally in Bangkok.
The law, which suspends some civil rights and puts the military in charge of law and order, applied only to the historic Dusit district where the rally took place
The latest rally was planned to start two weeks after over 20,000 red-shirts marched to Bangkok’s Grand Palace to seek a royal pardon for Mr Thaksin.
However, the rally was postponed after the government mobilised thousands of security personnel.
Red Shirt leader Jatuporn Prompan told AFP the rally would be held in a week's time instead.
"If the government imposes the act again on September 5 then we will postpone the rally until September 12 and finally September 19," he said, adding that the government had over-reacted to their plans for a peaceful demonstration.
Jatuporn said the rally would definitely be held on September 19 because it marks the third anniversary of the coup that toppled Thaksin, whose allies were driven from government in December last year by the rival royalist "Yellow Shirt" movement.
At least 20,000 Red Shirts had been expected gather Sunday at the capital's Royal Plaza, and on Saturday morning military-manned checkpoints were set up on the roads leading to the area.
Deputy prime minister Suthep Thaugsuban, overseeing the security operation, said he had arranged the deployment of a combined force of 5,550 military troops, police and civilians, in an attempt to "preserve national security”.
AFP, Thaksin supporters postpone rally amid tight security, 28 August 2009,http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5hmw700NbHoJBGqA__CDHw...
AsiaOne, Thailand prepares 5,000-strong force against 'Red Shirt' rally, 28 August 2009,http://news.asiaone.com/News/Latest%2BNews/Asia/Story/A1Story20090828-16...
The Economist, Orange, anyone?, 27 August 2009,
The Straits Times, Thailand invokes ISA, 26 August 2009, http://www.straitstimes.com/Breaking%2BNews/SE%2BAsia/Story/STIStory_421...
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