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NEWS UPDATES 20 January 2010

Thailand: Violence feared at pro-Thaksin Bangkok airport rally

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The red shirt anti-government United Front for Democracy Against Dictatorship (UDD) announced Tuesday it is considering a protest at the entrance of Suvarnabhumi Airport as part of its movement against the government, Thai national news agency TNA reported.

Thepthai Senpong, spokesman for Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva, said there is a high possibility of violence during the 10-day Red Shirt movement between February 16-26. The planned protest at Suvarnabhumi Airport must be closely monitored, he said.

The UDD said it will gather at the airport to hasten legal action against its major rival the People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD) which seized the airport in late 2008.

The Thai stock index fell 10.43 points or 1.39 per cent to close at 736.48 as investors concern over the planned mass protest at the country's main airport. Some international investors unloaded their portfolios, according to analysts.

Meanwhile, newly-formed New Politics Party (NPSP) leader Sondhi Limthongkul, also a staunch rival of the red dhirts, announced that his party is ready to form a government to end the "old politics", filled with corruption, pledging to be the best government Thailand has ever had.

The key leader of the so-called 'yellow shirt' People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD), elected unopposed as leader of NPSP, commented as his party opened its headquarters in Bangkok.

Media mogul-turned-politician Sondhi survived a shooting attempt on April 17. He also faces a series of libel cases in court.

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