|26 November 2009
Thai anti-government protest called off, security measures remain
A protest group seeking to bring down the government of Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva on Wednesday called off its plans for a rally this weekend after criticism that it would interfere with birthday celebrations for the country's revered monarch, according to reports from the Associated Press and local media.
Veera Musikapong of the United Front of Democracy against Dictatorship announced the cancellation of the rally, which had been set to start Saturday and end by Dec. 2, three days before the 82nd birthday of King Bhumibol Adulyadej.
The aborted protest is part of an ongoing political war that has left Thai politics unstable for more than three years, since billionaire politician Thaksin Shinawatra was ousted as prime minister by a military coup after being accused of corruption and disrespect for the king.
The rally's cancellation came after Thaksin, a fugitive from justice now in exile, told his political allies inside Thailand that the protest should be postponed because the timing was inappropriate.
The Nation, a local English-language daily meanwhile reported that the Thai government will go ahead and impose the Internal Security Act in Bangkok even though the red shirts said they would defer their planned rally indefinitely.
In a separate report, the Bangkok Post said the government is likely to call off its plan to invoke the Internal Security Act after the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship on Wednesday cancelled its planned rally this weekend.
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