Thai PM rejects dissolution
THAILAND: Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva on Monday rejected an
ultimatum by tens of thousands of protesters to dissolve Parliament or
face further demonstrations.
coalition parties agree the demand cannot be met
* Election must be held under
rules and genuine calm
“The protesters have demanded that I dissolve the house before midday
(0500 GMT) today, but the coalition parties agree the demand cannot be
met,” Abhisit said on national television, from a barracks where he
moved for the rally.
“Elections must be held under common rules and genuine calm. We have
to listen to other people’s voices, not just the protesters,” he said.
Flanked by other leaders from his six-party coalition government,
Abhisit sought to reassure the public, as the first group of so-called
“Red Shirt” protesters arrived to surround the army base where he was
“Chaos will not be triggered by the government. I want to reassure
the public that my government will continue working and restore normalcy
as soon as possible,” said Abhisit, before leaving the barracks by
Abhisit said he wanted to inspect traffic in the city, snarled up by
the moving Red Shirt rally.
Army officials boosted troop numbers and put in place evacuation
plans for the government after the Red Shirts, loyal to ousted prime
minister Thaksin Shinawatra, began to move from their rally site near
government offices early Monday. Chumpol Silpa-archa, the tourism
minister and leader of the Chart Thai Pattana party, a partner in the
ruling coalition, said his party members would remain loyal to Abhisit’s
Democrat party. “Our party will not switch,” he said.The Red Shirts
travelled in convoy to the barracks on the capital’s northern outskirts
in trucks, buses, cars and pick-up trucks, promising non-violence and
vowing to return later to the main rally site.
Thai army spokesman Colonel Sunsern Kaewkumnerd said about 2,000
soldiers were manning the 11th infantry army barracks, with three
helicopters on standby to whisk leaders away if needed.