Thai Prime Minister Refuses to Step Down Amid Street Violence

10/04/2010 12:53
The Prime Minister of Thailand appears determined to hold on to power despite protesters call for him to step down amid violent incidents that claim the lives of at least nine people and injured more than 500 others.

Thailand's Prime Minister Abhisit Vejajjiva refused to step down amid street violence that left about nine people dead with over 500 demonstrators injured in the month-long street demonstrations being staged by Red Shirts protesters loyal to the former Prime Minister of Thailand Thaksin Shinawatra.

The protesters are demanding that Prime Minister Abhisit Vejajjiva step down and call for a new election. The Red-Shirt protesters claim that Vejjajiva was illegally installed as Prime Minister.

Earlier the protesters stormed a TV station in a show of force which was met by Thai authorities with maximum tolerance despite the arrest warrants earlier secured by Thai authorities on the leaders of the protesters. Government authorities seem to be helpless in controlling the thousands of Red-Shirt protesters as they hurled explosives into the scene.

Their sheer number seems to be the reason for the authorities helplessness in dealing with the tense situation The Thai military said it would pull back after the fierce clashes.

"Soldiers will have to withdraw. There is no place to shelter. We cannot do anything," army chief General Anupong Paojinda told AFP. The report added:

Thousands more demonstrators were also refusing to leave another rally site in the main commercial district of the Thai capital, demanding Abhisit dissolve parliament. "Abhisit must leave Thailand," Reds' leader Veera Musikapong told the crowd. "We ask all government officials to stop serving this government."

Government authorities have advised the public to avoid traveling to the area where the operation is taking place, adding that the 'government has no other choice but to enforce the law and prosecute those who violated the law," said government spokesman Panitan Wattanayagorn

Meanwhile the Philippine government said it is hopeful the protest will remain peaceful despite today's violent incident. “We urge protesters to reject violence and to desist from fomenting or resorting to civil disturbances, which unduly threaten the safety of Thai citizens and foreigners,” the DFA said in a press statement.

The DFA said the Philippine government notes with concern the recent protest actions that have prompted Thailand to declare a state of emergency. “The Philippine Government hopes for the early return of normalcy and stability in Thailand, a good and valued friend and member of the ASEAN family,” the DFA said in the statement.


(original article appeared @ Digital Journal )



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