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NEWS UPDATES 18 March 2010

Thai anti-government protesters vow to prolong rally

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Key leaders of Thailand's anti-government United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD) on Wednesday vowed to prolong their protest with a convoy of its red-clad supporters fanning out across Bangkok streets on Saturday in an attempt to bring down the Abhisit Vejjajiva administration, state news agency TNA reported.

UDD key leader Nattawut Saikua announced Thursday evening that a meeting of Red Shirt leaders agreed to prolong their rally until their demand is responded to by the government.

Nattawut added that on Saturday the group will mobilise its red-clad convoy across Bangkok to launch the 'first anti-class war' aimed at creating better understanding and inviting Bangkokians to join the UDD mass protest to oust the Abhisit government.

The UDD key leader countered the government's claim that the number of protesters will dwindle due to exhaustion from prolonged protest. He said the government's evaluation was wrong as the prolonged rally will cause trouble to the government as the premier will not be able to enter Government House and his residence.

Nattawut said UDD regional leaders will meet in their hometowns to evaluate the situation and determine their strategies.

The anti-government protesters earlier spattered their blood at the prime minister's home on Sukhumvit Road, the affluent area home to the rich and expatriates, as part of their intensified campaign after the prime minister rejected their demand on the House dissolution and a call for a general election.

The shock tactic came a day after they poured blood which had been collected from Red Shirt volunteers at the gates of Government House and at the Democrat Party headquarters.

The Red Shirts also marched to the US embassy, submitting a letter asking for the embassy to clarify Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban's remark about foreign intelligence networks' warning of possible sabotage plotted by fugitive ex-premier Thaksin Shinawatra.

Meanwhile, Metropolitan police on Wednesday confirmed intelligence reports on an assassination attempt on the prime minister's life, while 400 added patrol police will be deployed to ensure safety across the capital.

Metropolitan police spokesman Maj-Gen Piya Uthayo conceded that the meeting of Centre for the Administration for Peace and Order (CAPO) reported assassination attempts on the premier's life, but the number of the premier's security personnel will not be increased as his security measures are now at the highest level.

Gen Piya added that police will ask for footage from the media on the bloodthrowers at the premier's home to seek the court approval for an arrest warrant.

The culprits will be charged for defacing property and causing embarassment to others, the same charges as those who earlier dumped human waste and animal dung to the premier's home.

In another related development, a group of sixty senators on Wednesday proposed a general debate in the Senate as soon as possible to find solution to the country's ongoing political crisis.

Deputy Senate Speaker Nikom Viyaratpanit urged the premier to attend the general session, while ruling out concern over the blockade of anti-government protesters at the parliament, saying that senators must use the parliament to solve the problem.

Abhisit noted the meeting should be held at an appropriate time and should avoid confrontation with the protesters.


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