Thousands of Protesters Remain in Bangkok Skip to main content

Thousands of Protesters Remain in Bangkok

Thai anti-government demonstrators take to the streets of downtown
 Bangkok, 03 Apr 2010
Photo: AP
Thai anti-government demonstrators take to the streets of downtown Bangkok, 03 Apr 2010

Thousands of red-shirted, anti-government protesters are occupying the commercial heart of Bangkok for a second day Sunday, in defiance of a government ban.

The government had ordered the so-called Red Shirts to end their demonstration by Saturday evening, but eventually conceded that negotiations would have to continue into Sunday as the deadline passed.

In a live television broadcast Sunday morning, Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva called on the protesters to abide by the constitution and return to their main protest venue at Phan Fa Bridge.  But, the mainly poor, rural protesters have vowed to continue their mass protest until new elections are called.

The rally of about 55,000 caused several department stores and malls to close their doors Saturday for security concerns.

In two days of talks at the beginning of last week, the prime minister said he was willing to hold elections before his term ends, but he said he would not dissolve parliament, because such a move would not solve Thailand's deep political divisions.

The protesters are loyal to former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who was ousted by a military coup in 2006.  Since then, Thailand has been wracked by a series of mass protests by the Red Shirts and their rival Yellow Shirts, who support the current government.

The latest series of huge rallies began March 14 in Bangkok.

Mr. Thaksin, who is living in exile to avoid a jail sentence, remains widely popular with Thailand's rural poor and urban working classes.  He frequently addresses his supporters by video link, recently urging them to increase pressure on the government.



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