Fury over Cambodian issue sparks more rallies
Published: 7/02/2011 at 12:00 AM
Newspaper section: News
The People's Alliance for Democracy is threatening to occupy key city sites on Friday to increase pressure on the government over the Cambodia issue.
Chamlong: ‘As long as it takes’
The nationalist movement is refusing to say where it will go, although police are promising tough anti-riot action if the group attempts to take key government installations such as parliament or Government House.
The PAD is demanding Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva and his government step down for its handling of the border dispute with Cambodia.
But Mr Abhisit yesterday was steadfast in his refusal to resign.
PAD co-leader Chamlong Srimuang said his protest group would keep up its vigil close to Government House as its goal of forcing the government from power was secondary to getting three other demands met.
The group has demanded the government withdraw from the Unesco World Heritage Committee, revoke a memorandum of understanding signed with Cambodia in 2000, and expel Cambodian people from disputed border areas.
The government has refused the demands.
Maj Gen Chamlong said the PAD would carry on with its protest for "as long as it took".
"Forcing the government to step down is not our main intention _ getting our other demands met is more important," he said.
"On Friday, the rally will proceed to the targeted places," he said, without elaborating on where the rallies might take place.
The move was needed to put more pressure on the government.
The PAD has also set up a 10-member nation protection committee to design policies and methods to protect the country's sovereignty.
Members' names will be released today.
Mr Abhisit said in his weekly television and radio address that the PAD should talk with him about safeguarding the country's territory instead of setting demands.
"I can't understand why the PAD leaders refuse to talk, unless it is more politically convenient for them [not to talk]," Mr Abhisit said.
He said government representatives were trying to reason with the PAD but both sides remained too far apart to sit down and negotiate.
"The problem is that the PAD leaders disseminate information to people which is one-sided and sometimes inaccurate," he said.
Meanwhile, police are promising a tough response if the PAD tries to seize government installations or major city offices.
Police would not allow protesters to take over any state offices, particularly Government House and parliament, spokesman of the Royal Thai Police Pol Maj Gen Prawut Thavornsiri said yesterday.
If the protesters tried to storm the prime minister's office building or other important sites, police would introduce stringent anti-riot measures under the so-called Korakot 52 operation plan in dealing with them, Pol Maj Gen Prawut said.
He said police can propose the government invoke the emergency decree again if the situation escalates to unrest.