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Pattaya Daily News

31 October 2008 :: 21:10:00 pm 40674

Thai Police Tighten Security as Ousted Premier Plans Phone-In Rally

BANGKOK, Oct 31 - Thailand's police will tighten security measures at Bangkok stadium on Saturday as ousted, fugitive prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, convicted of crimes against the state and people of Thailand, makes a live phone call from overseas to a rally organised by government supporters.
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Bangkok’s Metropolitan Police will set up checkpoints near the stadium from Friday night until the stadium doors open at 1pm Saturday. The rally, according to leaders of the pro-government United Front of Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD) which organises the gathering, will close at 10 pm.

The military may be invited to join police in providing security on Saturday on fears that a clash could erupt between UDD members and anti-government People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD) protesters who may move to the rally site from Government House which they now occupy.

Veera Musikapong, one of the major organisers of Saturday’s gathering and staunch supporter of Mr. Thaksin, said he expected about 100,000 people would attend the gathering which is aimed at “demanding democracy by peaceful means.”

Mr. Veera said Mr. Thaksin is now reportedly staying in Hong Kong and will phone-in around early at night.

On concerns by military chiefs that Mr. Thaksin’s telephone call could rapidly deteriorate Thailand’s political crisis Saturday, Mr. Veera said he personally believed Thailand could become more democratic.

The Supreme Court earlier this month sentenced Mr. Thaksin to two years imprisonment for violating the anti-corruption law over his wife Pojaman’s purchase of land in Bangkok from the Bank of Thailand’s Financial Institutions Development Fund. Mrs. Pojaman was earlier sentenced to three years in jail in another tax evasion case.

Supreme Court president Virat Limvichai expressed concern at the planned phone-in by Mr. Thaksin, saying that the convicted prime minister would face a maximum imprisonment of seven years or a fine of Bt14,000

or both in absentia if Mr. Thaksin made the speech considered as contempt of the Thai judicial system.

Abhisit Vejjajiva, leader of the opposition Democrat Party, said that the current political problems in Thailand could ease if Mr. Thaksin accepted his guilt and the court’s verdict. (TNA)

Reporter : PDN staff   Photo : Internet   Category : Thailand News

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