Pattaya Daily News

25 February 2009 :: 07:02:07 am 38938

Pm:Drastic Action Won’t Be Taken Against Demonstrators

PHETCHABURI, Feb 24 - Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said on Tuesday police and military personnel will not employ drastic action to quell the ongoing demonstration in which protesters from the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD) have surrounded Government House where his offices are located.
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The situation is still not worrisome, Mr. Abhisit, adding that some of the demands by the protesters, such as calling for legal action to be taken against the UDD?s arch-rival the People?s Alliance for Democracy (PAD), have already been acted upon.

The United Front protesters are staunch supporters of ousted former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who was last year convicted on several charges of corruption.

Late last year the PAD?s ‘Yellow Shirts’ occupied Government House and seized both Suvarnabhumi and Don Mueang airports.

The UDD?s demands relating to politics, including amending the Constitution and dissolving the House of Representatives, cannot be carried out by the government without dissolving itself, Mr. Abhisit said, noting that the protesters know this full well, and this is the condition for them to launch the protest, said Mr. Abhisit.

Urging the protesters not to break the law, Mr. Abhisit said Thailand will host the Association of Southeast Asian Nations summit and that it is the duty of every Thai to create a positive image for the country.

Every problem can be solved positively,” Mr. Abhisit said. “This government has no policy to use violence. Therefore it is unnecessary to break up the protest.

Mr. Abhisit said he would go to work as usual at Government House on Wednesday.

However, if it were to prompt violent clashes, he might review his decision.

“I understand there are opposing viewpoints. But people should stay within the line to allow each of us to continue our roles. I’m urging all of us to think of Thai people’s pressing issues and refrain from damaging our country any further,” the prime minister said. He said the protesters must be unarmed and not repeat what they did December 15 — the day Mr. Abhisit was elected prime minister by the House of Representatives.

At that time some anti-government protesters hurled rocks at the vehicles of a number of MPs, mainly members of the Democrat Party, to protest their rise to power.

UDD protesters began assembling at Sanam Luang early Tuesday and moved to Government House before noon. They are expected to camp in front of Government House, outside the gates, on Tuesday night. (TNA)

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One of the protest leaders, Jakrapob Penkair, said the demonstration Tuesday was being staged this week to show Thailand’s Southeast Asian neighbors that Abhisit’s government had no right to rule.

Abhisit’s Democrat Party, which came in second in a December 2007 general election, cobbled together a ruling coalition from defecting supporters of the previous administration.

“This government is full of robbers,” said Jatuporn Phromphan, another protest leader, on top of a pickup truck amid loud cheers. “The majority of this country did not vote for them but somehow they are in power because the elite want them to be.”

“We will not use violence,” Abhisit told reporters. “I am ready to walk into (the Government House) as long as there are no weapons.”

Jakrapob said the demonstrators would camp out there for at least two days to press their demands but would not break in as their political rivals had done.

Abhisit’s government held its weekly Cabinet meeting in Hua Hin, 90 miles (150 kilometers) southwest of Bangkok, instead of its usual venue at Government House, at which some 3,000 police in riot gear were deployed. Two-thousand army troops were on standby in the area, said police Lt. Gen. Worapong Chiewpreecha.

Reporter : PDN staff   Photo : Internet   Category : Thailand News

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