- Title: THAILAND: Thai protesters vow to continue their anti-government campaign
- Date: 9th October 2008
- Summary: ANTI-GOVERNMENT PROTESTERS OUTSIDE GOVERNMENT HOUSE NEWSPAPERS ON GROUND PROTESTERS READING NEWSPAPERS
- Embargoed: 24th October 2008 13:00
- Location: Thailand
- Country: Thailand
- Topics: Domestic Politics
- Reuters ID: LVAE8UF283IZY7KGV5V9GO7W8KP1
- Story Text: Protesters seeking to topple Thailand's government threaten more demonstrations in the capital, a day after two people died and over 400 were injured.
A day after the clashes between police and anti-government protesters in Bangkok, the streets around parliament on Wednesday (October 8) were quiet after the military deployed unarmed troops to help police restore order.
Protesters seeking to topple the Thai government threatened more demonstrations in the capital, a day after two people died and over 400 were injured in the worst street violence in 16 years.
Military troops were deployed into the city to back up the police but they showed no desire to disperse the thousands of demonstrators from PAD who have been occupying the prime minister's official compound since late August.
The protesters led by the so-called People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD) condemned the police for using teargas in the clashes.
"The police were over-reacting in handling the protest. Many times the police kept firing at people who were trying to help those with injuries.
They don't feel sympathy for the people," said protester Chavalit Arkanit.
The PAD is a motley coalition of businessmen, academics and activists who see Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat as a puppet of Thaksin Shinawatra, his brother-in-law, who was deposed in a coup in 2006 and has fled to exile in London to escape graft charges.
Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat briefed Southeast Asian ambassadors, in town to discuss an upcoming regional summit, on the deepening political crisis, telling them that his government was "confident that it can take care of the situation", a diplomat at the meeting told Reuters.
Somchai said the police could use the teargas to disperse the crowd according to the law.
"There was some trouble created by a group of people who tried to disrupt our policy statement at parliament, but the government and national police have handled the trouble accordingly to the law," Somchai told foreign diplomats at the Foreign Ministry.
The meeting for December's annual the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit finished earlier than scheduled, after the protesters threatened to march to Foreign Ministry offices to disrupt the meeting.
A PAD radio broadcast urged supporters in the provinces to join the street campaign, which began in late May.
Somchai called for national reconciliation to end a three-year political crisis pitting Thaksin and his rural base against rivals in the royalist.
But the PAD leaders rejected to start any dialogue with the government after Tuesday's clashes.
"The government says they have an urgent task in their policy to reconciliate, but during their first opportunity, instead of creating reconciliation they worsened the situation for Thai society. That means when they talk about reconciliation, they are lying and it will never happen,"
said one PAD leader Somsak Kosaisook.
One man was killed by a car bomb on Tuesday and a female protester died in the clashes, which saw riot police fire volleys of teargas and stun grenades at the crowds.
Demonstrators fought back with stones, clubs and pistol shots.
At least two policemen were shot and one stabbed.
The long-running campaign and recent violence have hurt investor confidence in Thailand and distracted policy makers when they should be focused on slowing economic growth and the fallout from the global credit crisis, analysts say.
- Copyright Holder: REUTERS
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