Thaksin supporters to resume protest in 10 days
Supporters of former Thai leader will resume a street campaign in 10 days to try to force the "illegitimate" new government to call fresh elections.
Supporters of former Thai leader Thaksin Shinawatra will resume a street campaign in 10 days to try to force the "illegitimate" new government to call fresh elections, protest leaders said on Wednesday.
After weeks of relative calm in Thailand's long-running political crisis, the planned Jan. 31 rally in Bangkok threatens to distract Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva's government as it tries to avoid a looming economic recession.
"This government is illegitimate because they destroyed other parties in order to rule," Veera Musikapong, a leader of the Democratic Alliance Against Dictatorship (DAAD), told a news conference.
The red-shirted DAAD have copied the playbook of the yellow-clad People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD), which led a months-long street campaign against the pro-Thaksin government thrown out by the courts last month.
The previous administration fell after the crisis peaked in late November when the PAD seized Bangkok's main airport for eight days, stranding thousands of tourists and badly damaging Thailand's travel image.
The DAAD accuse Abhisit, who became the country's fourth prime minister in 2008 after winning a parliamentary vote, of being in an alliance with the army and PAD -- a charge he denies. They besieged parliament for two days last month, forcing Abhisit to change the venue of his maiden policy speech to the nearby Foreign Ministry.
It was not clear how far the red shirts will go when their protest resumes later this month, but DAAD leaders said they would not try to disrupt a regional summit in February.
Jakrapob Penkair, a protest leader and former minister in the pro-Thaksin government, said they would instead send letters of protest to the embassies of the nine Southeast Asian nations due to attend the summit in the resort town of Hua Hin.
Analysts say the outlook for political stability remained bleak as long as the rift between Bangkok's royalist and business elite, who accuse Thaksin of corruption, and rural voters who loved his populist policies, remains unresolved.
Thaksin, who fled into exile before his conviction last year on conflict of interest charges, continues to loom large more than two years after he was removed in a bloodless coup.
The former telecoms billionaire, whose whereabouts are not known, was expected to phone in to an anti-government television programme on Sunday, the DAAD said.
Reuters Last Mod: 21 Ocak 2009, 15:46