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Phuket calm as protests intensify



Phuket calm as protests intensify | Thaiger
Phuket NEWS Hound

– A daily, pocket-sized packet of news from around the world, compiled by Phuket Gazette reporters for foreigners who want it short, sharp and straight to the point.

PHUKET: Thousands of opposition activists paraded through Thailand’s sprawling capital on Saturday in a bid to attract people from Bangkok’s middle classes to their anti-government campaign.

Reuters reports that the red-shirted supporters of ousted former premier Thaksin Shinawatra moved around the city of 15 million people in a 13-km (8-mile) long convoy, handing out leaflets saying, “We love Bangkokians” and calling on urban sympathisers to join their push for new elections.

Analysts said the “red shirts”, about 1,000 of whom are said to be from Phuket, had earned many sympathisers in their seven days of rallies but face an uphill struggle to bring the politically powerful middle classes fully on board.

Pitch Pongsawat, a political scientist at Chulalongkorn University, said many residents sympathised with the movement, but chafed at the prospect of being labelled a Thaksin supporter.

Meanwhile, Phuket and all other major cities and provinces in Thailand remain calm, with no reports of disturbances or plans to initiate local protests.

Thai PM willing to talk with protesters

Sky News
Thailand’s embattled prime minister called for talks with leaders of the ‘Red Shirt’ movement after tens of thousands of protesters brought the capital to a standstill. An estimated 65,000 to 90,000 singing and horn honking protesters, many on motorbikes, descended on Bangkok yesterday, paralysing normal life in the capital.

Mr Abhisit said that the protesters must choose between “democracy or Thaksin,” repudiating allegations of the illegitimacy of his government. “If the answer is democracy, we can talk,” he said.

Cambodians step in while Thais protest

The Bangkok Post
Security measures at checkpoints on the Cambodian-Thai border have been strengthened following a rise in the number of Cambodian workers entering Thailand. The measures were implemented to stop smuggling of weapons and drugs into the country, particularly during the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD) demonstrations in Bangkok, said a spokesman for a Thai paramilitary special task force stationed at the border.

Demand for Cambodian workers has surged after a large number of Thai factory employees left for the UDD protests, according to a Cambodian job agent supplying employees to Thai companies. The agent, who asked not to be named, added that he had supplied more than 2,000 Cambodian workers to companies in Thailand, and that he had orders for 5,000 more.

Protestors plan blood painting

The Jakarta Post
Protest leaders in Bangkok say they have 15 jugs of blood left over and plan to use it to create a massive work of art.

“Artists and Red Shirts will be invited to partake in a blood painting,” said Jatuporn Prompan, a leader from the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD).

They plan to unfurl a giant white cloth on which supporters will be invited to paint pictures, scrawl poems or express political sentiments. “The theme of this artwork will be the history of the people’s fight for democracy,” Jatuporn said.

“Actions like drawing blood, pouring it and throwing [it]… strictly speaking are not all legal,” Thai PM Abhisit Vejajjiva has said.

— Gazette Editors


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