Bangkok Reels under Protest Siege

After brief hiatus, trouble was back in the Thai capital of Bangkok on Wednesday with scores of red flag waving protesters taking to the streets in support of ousted prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra.

With protest leaders saying that thousands of more Sjinawatra supporters were on their way into the capital from the country-side Prime Minister, Abhisit Vejjajiva in an address on the local television said, “the government will have to do something” if the 80,00 strong protest contingent indulged in violence or arson.

“I can assure you there will no violence starting from the government’s side,” Vejjajiva was reported as saying by the Associated Press citing local television stations in the country.

“There are some people who want chaos, but the government will do everything to restrain them,” he added.

Premier Vejjajiva on Tuesday got a taste of the ire fuelling the protest as agitating crowds surrounded and attacked his car in the the best known Thai resort town of Pattaya.

Though, Vejjajiva escaped unhurt, the attack has cast serious security concerns over the 16-nation Asian summit meeting that kicks off in the resort town on Friday.

Shinawatra, a tycoon with interests in telecommunications, was elected in a landslide in 2001 and re-elected in 2005, but ousted in a military coup in 2006, he faces conviction on charges of abuse-of-power and currently is in exile in Dubai.

Protesting Thaksin supporters are said to be camping outside the local Government House in what is a grim reminder of the protests by the supporters of Vejjajiva that laid siege on airports and devastated the Thai tourism industry to ensure that their Eton educated leader came to power when the country’s Constitutional Court found the governing party guilty of election fraud last December.

Mounting a counter-offensive Thaksin supporters seek the ouster of Vejjajiva thus paving the way for their leader’s return into the country. Vejjajiva, however, categorically refused to step down on Wednesday.

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