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PM urges anti-govt rally to move elsewhere


June 1, 2008

PM urges anti-govt rally to move elsewhere

In an apparent attempt to ease political tensions, Thailand Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej said Sunday that "unarmed police" would negotiate with protesters demanding that his government resign, asking them to move to another location where they would not cause traffic problems and inconveniences to public.

Speaking during his weekly TV and radio address, Samak said that members of the anti-government coalition People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD) and its supporters, who have been demonstrating since May 25, are "violating several laws" and concerned officials would take action against them.

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"Unarmed police will negotiate and ask them to dismantle their makeshift tents. If they don't, police will help in removing them to open the road for traffic. Nobody cares if they continue the rally elsewhere," Mr. Samak explained.

PAD members and supporters are now encamped in front of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) headquarters in central Bangkok, inconveniencing motorists and the general public.

They are demanding the resignation of Mr. Samak's coalition government, which came into power in February following the last December's general election, accusing it of being a puppet of ousted prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra.

The PAD spearheaded street protests which set the stage for the downfall of the Thaksin administration after the military staged a bloodless coup in September 2006.

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