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Archive for Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Pro-Thaksin protesters still block Parliament

December 30, 2008

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— Thailand’s government was forced to change the venue of its key policy speech today as thousands of demonstrators loyal to exiled former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra surrounded Parliament, extending months of political turmoil.

Several hundred protesters also blocked the Foreign Ministry, where the government and lawmakers moved to deliver the policy statement. As proceedings began inside, police and protesters confronted each other. Some ministry staffers were seen climbing small ladders to get over a fence to flee the compound.

The protesters, vowing to ring the Parliament building until their demands for new general elections are met, prevented the government from delivering its mandated policy speech on Monday. The government said it would try to peacefully end the blockade.

The standoff comes less than a month after the last government was forced from office following six months of demonstrations that culminated in the eight-day seizure of Bangkok’s two main airports. The earlier protesters had been part of an anti-Thaksin alliance.

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