08/29/2008, 00.00
THAILAND
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The truce crumbles clashes between police and demonstrators in Thailand

Activists from the People's Alliance for Democracy (Pad) refuse to move from occupied government offices and continue to demand the premier’s resignation, who yesterday stated his unwillingness to resort to the “use of force”. 15 people are arrested and barricades opened to the occupied zone.

Bangkok (AsiaNews/Agencies) – The truce between police and demonstrators, barricaded for days now in government offices demanding Premier Samak Sundaravej’s resignation, was short lived.  Clashes broke out today as police carried out a Thai court order to remove demonstrators.  Protesters responded to police attempts to restore order, despite the fact security officers have so far not employed “full force”  to clear the area of the thousands People’s Alliance for Democracy (Pad) members.

Demonstrators are calling for the Prime Minister’s resignation accusing him of being a “pawn” in the hands of former premier Thaksin Shinawatra currently in exile in London, from where they claim he is plotting to transform the monarchy into a republic.  So far there are no reports of injured, but police have carried out 15 arrests and succeeded in dismantling barricades to gain access to the government buildings.

Yesterday the head of government stated that he did not want to have to “resort to the use of force” to remove protesters, accusing them in turn of wanting to provoke “a blood bath” throughout the country and of supporting “another military state coup”.  For their part PAD activists affirm that they will abandon government buildings only when premier Samak “announces his resignation”. The Prime Minister has responded that he was “legitimately” elected in last Decembers general vote, and according to analysts, still enjoys wide consensus among the majority population of Thailand.

 

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