Pattaya Daily News

27 August 2008 :: 22:08:32 pm 42851

Warrants Out for Key Pad Protest Leaders

BANGKOK, Aug 27 - Thailand's Criminal Court on Wednesday issued arrest warrants for the top five leaders of the anti-government coalition People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD), its coordinator and three other PAD activists for leading demonstrators to storm the Government House compound and other state offices on Tuesday.
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Meanwhile retired Maj-Gen. Chamlong Srimuang, one of five PAD core leaders, challenged the authorities to come make the arrests, saying that neither would he nor the other PAD activist leaders resist arrest or use anyone as human shields to deter the arrest process.

The five PAD leaders are Sondhi Limthongkul, Piphop Thongchai, Gen. Chamlong, Somsak Kosaisuk, Somkiat Pongpaiboon and PAD coordinator Suriyasai Katasila.

The other three persons include Chaiwat Sinsuwong, Amorn Amornrattananond and Therdpoom Chaidee who led PAD stalwarts in a raid on state-owned NBT television station on Tuesday.

The high-profile PAD leaders are charged with rebellion and rebellious attempt, organising gatherings of 10 or more people to cause public disturbances and defying police orders to disperse.
Eighty-two PAD actiivists or hangers-on, including four women and three juveniles, arrested for breaking into NBT’s broadcast facilities remain in police custody after the Criminal Court denied bail on Tuesday on grounds of their having committing violent crimes.

Police charged them with colluding with armed protesters in coercing others to do or not to do actions against their will, possessing firearms without permission and carrying firearms in a public place without permission. If found guilty, they are each liable to a maximum five-year jail term and/or fines of up to 10,000 baht. (TNA)

latest news from Reuter India: [10.43 pm.]

Thai PM orders police to clear protesters – spokesman

By Pracha Hariraksapitak

BANGKOK (Reuters) – Thai Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej has ordered thousands of riot police to move an anti-government crowd occupying his office compound by Wednesday, his spokesman said.

“The Prime Minister said it has to end today,” Samak’s chief spokesman Wichianchot Sukchotrat told reporters.“Thousands of police will be deployed to move the protesters out of the Government House.”

Wichianchot said police would try to pursuade the thousands of demonstrators to leave the lawn of Government House, normally the nerve centre of the Thai administration, but if violence flared it would be met with “decisive actions”.

Earlier on Wednesday, Interior Minister Kowit Wattana, a former national police chief, suggested the authorities would continue to exercise restraint in the wake of the demonstrators’ siege and their occupation on Tuesday of several ministries and a state television station.

“I am begging to my fellow citizens to leave the Government House and hold a rally somewhere else where police will have no objection to it,” he told a news conference. “I don’t want to call this an ultimatum, more an appeal.”

A Thai court issued arrest warrants on Wednesday for nine leaders of an anti-government movement laying siege to the prime minister’s office in an attempt to force his cabinet from power.

The warrants accuse the nine leaders of the People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD) of inciting unrest and trying to overthrow the government, a crime that carries up to 15 years in prison.

It was unclear how police would arrest the nine, surrounded by thousands of flag-waving supporters at Samak’s headquarters.

Two thousand police have taken up position in and around the compound, although the only confrontation was in the early hours of Wednesday when 15 people were injured in scuffles with police.

An opinion poll released on Wednesday showed a marked shift in the public mood against the PAD, whose 2005 protests against then Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra led ultimately to his removal in a military coup the following year.

The Bangkok University survey suggested 73 percent of people in the capital disagreed with the three-month campaign by the group, which accuses the current elected coalition of being an illegitimate Thaksin proxy.

The PAD also proclaims itself a defender of revered King Bhumibol Adulyadej against a supposed Thaksin plan to turn Thailand into a republic — a charge vehemently denied by Thaksin, who is now in exile in London, and the government.

“NOT ENOUGH JAILS”

After the warrants were issued, PAD heavyweight Chamlong Srimuang, a retired major-general and ascetic Buddhist who led a 1992 people power uprising against military rule, urged the demonstrators to stand fast.

“More people will join us tomorrow. Don’t leave or we will lose. If we hold on, we will win in the next three to four days,” he told the crowd at Government House.

Earlier, Chamlong told reporters: “They can’t arrest us all. There aren’t enough jails.”

The stock market has fallen 23 percent since Chamlong and his allies launched their latest anti-government campaign, amid fears of everything from policy paralysis at a time of stuttering economic growth to bloodshed on the streets.

Tuesday’s crossing of the line into violent protest helped send the baht to its lowest level against the dollar since November.

It also caused a switch from broadly sympathetic coverage in the domestic press to outright condemnation.

“The PAD’s ‘last whistle blow’ is unjustified, unnecessary, provocative and illegal,” the Bangkok Post said in an editorial.

“If the PAD really wants to bring down the government, it should do so through the parliament. That is the proper, democratic place to do it.”

Army chief Anupong Paochinda has said he was not going to get involved, saying crowd control was a matter for the police.

Reporter : PDN staff   Photo : Internet   Category : Thailand News

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