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January 6, 2009

Thailand's ‘red-shirts’ threaten blockade of Asean summit

Thailand's anti-government ''Red Shirt'' protesters said they would lay siege to any venue where a regional Asean summit might be held next month, state news agency TNA reported.

During an ''off-parliament'' debate focusing on the Abhisit administration, Puea Thai Party MP Chatuporn Prompan announced that the Red Shirt demonstrators of the United Front of Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD) had planned to besiege any place where the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) summit , earlier postponed from late last year to next month, might take place in this country.

Former foreign affairs minister Noppadon Pattama and former prime minister's office minister Jakrapob Penkair will deliver letters of complaint to each of the nine other member states of the regional grouping to personally explains their case against Abhisit, whom the UDD considers unfit, unethical and undeserving of the top government post, according to Chatuporn, a leading organiser of the Truth Today news talk programme.

Chatuporn said Abhisit was alleged to have dodged the military draft and 'robbed' the Puea Thai Party of a number of its members of parliament who had switched sides to select him as premier instead of Puea Pandin Party leader Pracha Promnok.

Meanwhile, he said, the Red Shirt protesters have called on Mr. Abhisit to immediately dissolve the House of Representatives and call a general election as well as to depose Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya whom they considered as unfit and detestable, following his involvement in the earlier 'Yellow Shirt' Peoples' Alliance for Democracy (PAD) protests.

Chatuporn urged the premier to take legal action against key leaders of the Peoples' Alliance for Democracy who had occupied Government House and shut down Suvarnabhumi and Don Muang airports late last year.

Otherwise, he warned, the Red Shirt protesters might as well deny the Abhisit cabinet access to Government House as the Yellow Shirts had done to previous governments.

The Puea Thai MP predicted that the Abhisit government would not be able to outlast the previous Somchai Wongsawat government which had only lasted for a few months.

Puea Thai MP Chalerm Yubamrung commented during the so-called 'off-parliament' debate at a Bangkok hotel that the Abhisit administration evidently had had no clear-cut policies to run the country and only imitated the populist platforms of the previous Thaksin Shinawatra administration as well as the so-called six-measures, six-months economic relief package introduced by the previous Samak Sundaravej government.

Challenging Abhisit to a TV debate alongside himself, Chalerm charged that an estimated Bt13 million cash had been transferred from an undisclosed source to the Democrat Party to 'buy' a number of MPs in exchange for their votes for Abhisit as premier last month.

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