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Police kept busy as pro- and anti- govt groups rally


May 26, 2008

Police kept busy as pro- and anti- govt groups rally

Security in the Thai capital Bangkok was reinforced Sunday as several thousand people opposing the coalition government's move to amend the constitution joined the People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD) in attacking the move while pro-government groups staged demonstrations in the same neighbourhood.

Some 600 uniformed police officers, backed by numerous plainclothes police, were seen around the Democracy Monument on Rajadamnoen Avenue, site where the PAD members and their supporters are holding the rally.

Members of the PAD were seen collecting identification cards from people joining the rally in a bid to submit to the Senate Speaker to oust members of parliament and the senators who had submitted a motion to rewrite the 2007 constitution, furnished by military-installed legal and constitutional experts.

Reiterating that the rally would be conducted peacefully, Somsak Kosaisuk, a leader of the PAD, said he expected more than 30,000 people would join the demonstration and that his group had urged the authorities to provide security and to prevent the pro-government demonstrators push for sweeping changes to the charter who are holding a rally nearby from intimidating or hurting his people.

Key PAD leaders met only hours before the rally began said that they would move to either in front of Government House or the Parliament building Monday morning to submit names of supporters wishing to oust MPs and senators who had submitted the motion last week.

At Sanam Luang, near the Democracy Monument, two groups supporting the government to rewrite the constitution were holding rallies. They pledged to disperse the same time the PAD ends its demonstration.

During 2005 and 2006 the PAD held street protests which played a role in the downfall of the government of prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra by coup d'etat in September 2006.

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