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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2734

Thai Prime Minister delivered Government Policy Statement at a changed venue instead Parlaiment

Bangkok, 31 December, (Asiantribune.com): The government policy debate parliamentary session opened at Thailand's Foreign Ministry in Bangkok around Tuesday noon after anti-government protests forced the new Cabinet and legislators to delay the session for one day and move its venue from the traditional Parliament to the Ministry.

Prime Minister Abhisit and the Democrat Party members of parliament were already at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs at 10 am, after being rebuffed by unyielding protesters at outside the grounds of the Parliament buildings.

At a conference room in the Foreign Ministry guarded by heavy police forces, Abhisit read out the policy statements to a group of some 310 senators and MPs, without the presence of opposition.

The policy statement was originally scheduled to start on Monday at 9.30am but the blockades forced Parliament speaker Chai Chidchob to postpone the session twice before being rescheduled to Tuesday.

However, the insistent anti-government demonstrators demanding dissolution of Thailand's lower house of Parliament to force a fresh national election blocked the entrances of the Parliament for the second day Tuesday morning, preventing Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva from delivering his coalition government's policy statement.

The UDD Red Shirt protesters are loyal to former premier Thaksin Shinawatra, who was toppled in a military coup in 2006 and is now a fugitive, having jumped bail during legal proceedings against him in August.

They camped overnight in front of the Parliament after successfully preventing the session on Monday.

The protesters said the MPs and Senators could enter Parliament only by foot, and that the UDD, which called on Prime Minister Abhisit to dissolve Parliament, would not obstruct but would help them walk through.

The UDD core leaders said the demonstration at Parliament would continue during the government's plan to deliver its policy statement. If the venue is changed, the UDD will follow the MPs to the new venue wherever the meeting is to be held.

They said the UDD objected to the manner in which Mr. Abhisit had achieved the prime minister's post.

- Asian Tribune -

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