Back-up plan to solve crisis:
Thai PM demands quick end to protests
THAILAND: Thailand’s Premier called Sunday for a swift end to mass
anti-government protests following fresh bloodshed, saying he had a
back-up plan to solve the crisis if the demonstrators refuse to
Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva demanded the opposition “Red Shirts”
give a “clear answer” by Monday on whether they will accept his offer to
hold elections in mid-November if they disperse within the next few
“You should stop the rally quickly for safety reasons,” said Abhisit,
whose reconciliation “roadmap” aims to defuse a crippling two-month
confrontation and envisages holding elections on November 14.
“Terrorists and people who live abroad want to disrupt the
reconciliation plan,” he said on national television.
“No matter whether they (the protesters) stop the rally or not, we
have a back-up plan which will lead to a resolution of the problem,” he
The Government and the “Red Shirt” opposition protesters Saturday
reaffirmed their commitment to a reconciliation process aimed at ending
outbreaks of civil violence that have left 29 people dead and about
The latest casualties were two police officers who were killed in gun
and grenade attacks on Friday and Saturday close to the Red Shirts’
massive rally encampment, which has shut down most of Bangkok’s main
The opposition protesters denied involvement in the attacks and
nobody has claimed responsibility.
The Reds, who broadly support fugitive former premier Thaksin
Shinawatra, were working on their own proposals to end the political
crisis after thousands more supporters bolstered their rally in the
heart of Bangkok.
Thaksin, a telecoms tycoon-turned-politician, who was ousted in a
2006 coup, now lives in exile to avoid a jail sentence for corruption.
The Red Shirts have signed up to the peace process but are demanding
a firm date for the dissolution of parliament before disbanding their
base, where they are barricaded behind piles of fuel-soaked tyres and
Both sides said the attacks were the work of groups intent on
derailing Abhisit’s peace roadmap. The premier said the latest attacks
were “carried out by terrorists who don’t want the reconciliation plan.”
The Reds also said the latest killings were carried out by elements
intent on sabotaging the peace proposals. “This will not distract us or
derail the process,” Reds leader Nattawut Saikuar said Saturday.
However, he indicated that an agreement was not yet within reach.