“Final battle” to topple Thai regime

Thousands of protesters surrounded Thailand’s parliament building early Nov. 24, vowing a “final battle” to overthrow the government of Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat. Protesters say they will prevent MPs from discussing constitutional amendments they oppose that would rehabilitate members of the outlawed Thai Rak Thai party who were banned from holding office.

Protesters say the People’s Power Party (PPP) government lead by Somchai Wongsawat is too close to fugitive ex-premier Thaksin Shinawatra. Sondhi Limthongkul, the leader of the People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD), which is leading the protests, said his followers are bracing for a “final battle” against the government. “The leaders have already planned our battle tactics,” he said. “In this war the protesters will seize our capital back.”

The PAD is demanding the resignation of Somchai, accusing him of being a proxy for his brother-in-law, Thaksin Shinawatra, the former prime minister who was ousted in a military coup in 2006. Somchai insists he will not step down. Some 1,150 police have been stationed outside the barricaded parliament, apparently prepared for a repeat of bloody street battles on Oct. 7 that left two protesters dead and nearly 500 injured.

On Nov. 22, eight protesters were injured in a bomb attack at a checkpoint maintained by the PAD outside the prime minister’s Government House, where a protest vigil has been maintained for three months. One of the injured protesters died on Nov. 23. (AlJazeera, Nov. 24; Wikinews, Nov. 23; Bloomberg, Nov. 22)

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