Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Thailand's 'Yellow Shirts' stage new protest

The "Yellow Shirts" used to closely linked to Thai premier Abhisit Vejjajiva

via CAAI

BANGKOK — Around 2,000 nationalist Thai "Yellow Shirts" rallied in Bangkok on Tuesday to demonstrate against the government's handling of a border territory dispute with neighbouring Cambodia. protesters

The latest round of the kingdom's street protests came two days after a large rally by the rival "Red Shirts", and a day after the arrest of five men with explosives, following a tip-off to police about potential bomb attacks.

A 3,000-strong security force was on hand at Tuesday's gathering near Government House, where the Yellows accused Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva of failing to defend long-disputed territory from Cambodia.

"We have made our suggestions to the government but they have failed to act, so we have no other choice," a leading Yellow protester, Chamlong Srimuang, told reporters at the rally site.

The border issue has heated up since seven Thais were arrested in Cambodia in December for illegal entry and trespassing in the disputed zone, including a Yellow activist who remains in jail in Cambodia, also facing spying charges.

The Yellows, officially known as the People's Alliance for Democracy, used to be closely linked to Abhisit, who came to power in 2008 after their protests helped to bring down former governments, but relations have since soured.

Those 2008 rallies by the movement culminated with the seizure of two Bangkok airports, stranding more than 300,000 travellers and causing crippling economic damage.

The PAD are powerful players in Thailand's colour-coded politics, backed by the Bangkok-based elite and arch-rivals of the Red Shirts, who held their most recent protest on Sunday attracting around 27,000 supporters.

More than 90 people were left dead after clashes between Red Shirts and troops in Bangkok in April and May last year, during protests by the Reds demanding snap elections.

Police believe the five men who were arrested with various explosive devices on Monday night "wanted to create troubles", although it was not clear if they were linked to either the Red or Yellow group.

Thai authorities denied accusations of a set-up to prevent people attending rallies.


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