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Opposition in Thailand vows to resume protests December 6

December 05, 2013, 12:02 UTC+3 BANGKOK
Oppositionists have ignored the request of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra to extend a tacit moratorium on street protests at least till December 7
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BANGKOK, December 05. /ITAR-TASS/. Protesters in Thailand will resume their antigovernment actions early on December 6, having a lull for just one day, the king’s 86th birthday, opposition leader Sutep Taugsuban said on Thursday.

“We will begin as soon as it dawns and will fight until we win,” the opposition leader said.

On Thursday, Thai people mark the 86th birth anniversary of King Phumiphon Adunyadet. Any manifestation of aggression would be seen as a show of disrespect for the monarch esteemed by all parties in that lingering political conflict.

Oppositionists have ignored the request of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra to extend a tacit moratorium on street protests at least till December 7, letting the government hold an official reception in Bangkok to mark the king’s birthday. Despite expected protests, the prime minister believes the situation in the country is gradually improving. “Even if we cannot yet say the situation has normalized, it has surely improved,” Shinawatra said. On December 8 she is to leave Thailand for the first time since major riots began, going to Russia for an official visit. Earlier, the prime minister cancelled a trip to Singapore because of a tense situation. However, the Moscow visit is still on the agenda as well as visits to Myanmar and Japan later in December.

Yingluck Shinawatra keeps insisting that the nation that divided into supporters and opponents of the regime which is dubbed in Thailand as “Taksinism” needs a reconciling decision born solely in a dialogue. “I would like to invite scientists, business people and representatives of all political groups, including protesters, to think together and find a solution and then move towards political reforms within the framework of a democratic process with the king at the head,” the prime minister said.

The organizers of political rallies in Thailand once again returned on Thursday to a peaceful scenario following an escalation of violence. An opposition rally near the National Police headquarters in Bangkok ended with the approval of a petition to the authorities, after which protesters broke up. In the morning, a group of protesters drove to the police building from the compound of government buildings in Bangkok’s Chaengwattana area. Law enforcement officers hurriedly put up barriers at the entrance to the headquarters, using barbed wire and concrete blocks. However, after negotiating with the protesters, police opened the gate to listen to them.

Protesters demanded from police explanations as to what they described as inactivity during an outbreak of violence near Ramhamhaeng University, when five people were killed on the night of November 30 in clashes of opposition-minded students and pro-government demonstrators. Protesters also demanded from law enforcement agencies not to use force any longer against anti-government demonstrators. They stated their demands in a petition addressed to the head of the National Police giving him one week for an answer, and then left the site peacefully.

Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, for her part, could return on Wednesday to her main residence, the Government House, for the first time over the past few days. According to her aides, the prime minister had a meeting with the ministers to assess economic damage for Thailand as a result of opposition protests in Bangkok.

Protesters, demanding the resignation of the prime minister and dissolution of the parliament, tried to storm the Government House within December 1-3. However, on Tuesday concrete barriers and barbed wire around the building were dismantled, and protesters could enter the territory. Symbolically ‘seizing’ the Government Building they retreated.

The situation in Thailand is expected to normalize shortly, Royal Thai Navy Commander-in-Chief Admiral Narong Pipatanasai told reporters. He also ruled out the possibility of a military coup in the country which has seen 19 military coups over the past 80 years.

“There will be no coup. The tension is easing. The armed forces don’t take part in the conflict. I think that everything will be back to normal shortly,” he said.

Meanwhile, protesters in Bangkok continue holding the building of the Thai Finance Ministry, the square around the Democracy Monument Square and the territory outside the Government Complex at Chaengwattana. Opposition leader Sutep Taugsuban vowed to continue fight against the government of Shinawatra “until complete victory or death”. He also said that on December 5, protesters would have their own festivities marking the king’s birthday at the sites they controlled.

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