Tension rises as Thaksin gets ready to address supporters
THAILAND: Tensions rose in Thailand on Friday as deposed Prime
Minister Thaksin Shinawatra prepared to give a televised address to
supporters who have been holding daily protests against the countryâ€™s
The evening rally was expected to draw thousands of pro-Thaksin
supporters anxious to hear their deposed leader give a speech from
self-imposed exile in London. Supporters were told Thursday that Thaksin
speech would be broadcast live via satellite Friday night.
Coup leaders, who deposed Thaksin in a bloodless takeover last
September while he was overseas, said they would allow the speech to go
forward but warned that they would impose emergency rule if there is any
violence related at the Thaksin rally.
â€śIf the situation deteriorates, the government will have to declare
the state of emergency to allow the security forces to control the
situation,â€ť Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont told reporters.
Bangkok Police Commissioner Lt. Gen. Adisorn Nontree said he was
bracing for a large crowd at Sanam Luang grounds near the Grand Palace,
adding that 15,000 police officers and soldiers would be on hand to
The capital has been on edge in recent days, with rumors of a coup or
military clampdown circulated amid jitters that Thaksin could return and
set off a confrontation between his supporters and the current
Talk of Thaksinâ€™s return intensified Monday after the Assets
Examination Committee froze 52.88 billion baht (US$1.63 billion;
euro1.22 billion) of assets held by Thaksin and his family.
The move against Thaksin followed a court ruling May 30 which ordered
Thaksinâ€™s Thai Rak Thai Party dissolved, and barred its entire
leadership of 111 people including Thaksin from public office for five
Meanwhile thirteen schools have been set on fire in southern
Thailand, where teachers have increasingly become the targets of a
The Thai authorities have blamed Muslim insurgents for a series of
recent attacks on schools, as part of their separatist campaign.
The violence in the region has killed more than 2,200 people since
2004. More than 200 schools have been torched and 77 teachers killed,
according to education officials.
This appears to have been a co-ordinated attack - 13 schools set on
fire almost simultaneously on Wednesday evening. Hours later a bomb
exploded in front of another school.