Sunday, December 28, 2008

Pro-Thaksin protesters ring Thai Parliament

Denis D. Gray

Supporters of exiled former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra gather Sunday, Dec. 28, 2008, near the Royal Palace in Bangkok to listen to speeches. Demonstrators are calling for a march on Parliament sparking fears of a replay of the political unrest that paralyzed the government in Thailand for months culminating in an eight-day seizure of the capital's airports (AP Photo/David Longstreath).

BANGKOK, Thailand – Thousands of supporters of exiled former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra surrounded Thailand's Parliament on Monday, daring lawmakers to pass through their ranks to deliver a speech outlining the new government's key policies.

With only a handful of opposition lawmakers entering the building, the morning opening of the legislature was postponed.

"If they (lawmakers) want to go in, they have to walk through us, including the prime minister," one of the protest leaders, Chatuporn Prompan, told reporters outside the Parliament compound where demonstrators spent the night.

The demonstration sparked fears of renewed political turbulence, which paralyzed the previous government for months and climaxed with an eight-day seizure of Bangkok's airports. But the earlier protesters had been part of an anti-Thaksin alliance.

The current protest group — which calls itself the Democratic Alliance against Dictatorship — is trying to pressure the government to dissolve the legislature and call snap general elections. More>>

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