Thai protesters vow to stay until deputy PM surrenders

Deputy PM was in charge of security when troops launched an unsuccessful operation on April 10 to clear an area of the capital, leaving 25 people dead and hundreds injured in fierce street clashes.

Thai protesters vow to stay until deputy PM surrenders

Defiant "Red Shirt" opposition protesters vowed Monday to keep up their crippling rally in the Thai capital until the deputy premier surrenders to police over a deadly crackdown last month.

Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaungsuban was in charge of security when troops launched an unsuccessful operation on April 10 to clear an area of the capital, leaving 25 people dead and hundreds injured in fierce street clashes.

Nattawut Saikua, a co-leader of the United Front for Democracy Against Dictatorship (UDD), known as the "red shirts", said Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban must turn himself in to authorities before they would end their protest.

"Once Suthep turns himself in to the police, the UDD will disperse and return home," Nattawut told supporters.

Suthep has denied he should be held responsible for any deaths in the clash, but a government spokesman said he would appear before the Department of Special Investigation on Tuesday to hear complaints filed against him by the protesters.

However, the leaders of the mostly rural and working-class protesters accepted a timeframe for a general election proposed by the government to be held on Nov. 14, including plans to dissolve parliament in the second half of September.

They listed several demands and conditions for ending their five-week occupation of Bangkok's main shopping district, including Suthep's arrest and the lifting of a ban on their television channel.

Abhisit does not have to call an election until the end of 2011 but has offered polls on Nov. 14 as a way to end the latest crisis which has left 29 people dead and more than 1,000 wounded.

In a weekly televised address on Sunday, he restated his commitment to the plan but said an election would not go ahead if there was disagreement and violence continued.

His proposals call for reforms to address social injustice, a big red shirt grievance; an independent body to ensure unbiased reporting by the media; a committee to investigate violence; and political reform, possibly including constitutional amendments.

The red shirts say the ruling coalition has no mandate, having come to power in a parliamentary vote 17 months ago that they claim was orchestrated by the army top brass.


Agencies

Last Mod: 10 Mayıs 2010, 16:55
Add Comment