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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2645

Thailand: Anti Government protestors vow to bring down the government by tomorrow

Bangkok, 25 November, ( Uncertainity prevails in Thailand, as anti-government protestors vowed to bring down by Wednesday the elected government of Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat, who is at present away in Lima, Peru attending an economic summit. Anti-government protesters also anounced that they will not allow the flight bringing Thai Prime Minister from Lima landing at Thailand’s international Suvarnabhumi Airport.

Political situation in Thailand emerging more and more uncontrollable. Thailand's anti-government protest movement, the People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD), claim they have taken physical possession of the country's temporary Government House at Don Mueang Airport, which it says is a further step in its plan to topple the government.

In the meantime the fugitive former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra vowed that he will be back, making the political scenario murkier.

Latest reports revealed that many international tour operators have cancelled tour programs – Destination Thailand, as uncertainty prevails in the country of “Thousand Smiles.” Sources told protestors pro and anti government are holding the general public hostage.

Reports further revealed that an estimated 18,000 flag-waving demonstrators split up throughout the capital. They hijacked buses, fanned out in running protests through the central part of the city, and even wound up outside the new government offices at Don Mueang.

Another report revealed that more than 5,000 protesters led by PAD leaders Sondhi Limthongkul, Piphob Thongchai and Somkiat Pongpaiboon were gathered in front of the Thai parliament building on Monday evening. Traffic lanes were closed around the venue, as more protesters were expected to join the mass rally.

House Speaker Chai Chidchob postponed a joint parliamentary session. The protesters quickly declared victory by claiming that they had succeeded in preventing Parliament from amending the charter to pave the way for ex-prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra to return to power.

Speaker Chai Chidchob later on met with Deputy Prime Minister Chaovarat Charnveerakul, Prasopsuk Boondej, the Senate president, and Abhisit Vejjajiva, the Democrat leader, to agree to postpone the joint parliamentary session to Dec 8-9 to ratify the agreements that Thailand would need to commit to the Asean Summit.

A source said Somchai Wongsawat, the prime minister, who is now in Peru attending the Asia-Pacific Economic Meeting, called up Gen Anupong Paochinda, the army chief, to discuss the crisis situation. They agreed that authorities should not try to resist the protesters and should refrain from arming themselves to avoid violent clashes.

But from the Apec summit in Peru, Mr Somchai said he has no intention of resigning, because the government emerged from democratic elections.

If the government has to be forced out, it should be done by the parliamentary election or the general public in a ballot, he said. He said the global economic crisis was more important than the protests.

"The situation in Thailand at the moment is small - only a single location in Bangkok, and it has not significantly destroyed the country's economic foundation," claimed the prime minister. "We have to talk and try for reconciliation," he told a reporter from the Reuters news agency.

Earlier, former Prime Minister Thakshin Shinawatara told the Arabian Business magazine in Abu Dhabi - "The country is going down deeply. The confidence is not there. The trust amongst foreign community is not there. The poor people in rural areas are in difficulty.

"With me at the helm I can bring confidence quickly back to Thailand. We have to find a mechanism under which I can go back, that is why I must tell you that I will go back into politics."

Thaksin also criticized the British government for lifting his visa, effectively making him a wanted criminal on the run. "England must understand better, but unfortunately they are now busy with their own problems," he alleged. "So they forgot about democratic values."

The UK cancelled the visas of Thaksin and his wife Khunying Potjaman earlier this month after he was convicted of corruption, and continued to speak out on Thai politics from his British haven. The couple has since divorced.

- Asian Tribune -

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