Demos delay Thai PM speech

Demos delay Thai PM speech

Thailand faces a new round of political chaos as Abhisit is blocked from parliament

Photo by:
AFP

Supporters of Thailand's former premier Thaksin Shinawatra protest the new government in Bangkok on Monday. 

BANGKOK - Thai Premier Abhisit Vejjajiva was forced to delay his maiden policy speech until today after thousands of protesters blockaded Parliament in the latest twist to the kingdom's political crisis.

Red-shirted supporters of ex-prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who was toppled in a 2006 coup, sealed off the gates to parliament Monday and said they would stay until the newly-installed Abhisit called fresh elections.

The siege brought a sense of deja vu for many Thais, with protesters copying the tactics of rival, yellow-clad activists who launched a street campaign that helped bring down a government led by Thaksin's allies in December.

"The house speaker has decided to postpone the session until tomorrow [Tuesday]," British-born Abhisit told a press conference, adding that the speech could continue until Wednesday.

The speech was meant to start Monday morning but had already been delayed twice.

"We have negotiated all day and it was not successful, but we will continue our efforts. What has happened today will not affect the government's plans," he said.

The pro-Thaksin protesters earlier said they would allow the Oxford-educated Abhisit and his Cabinet to walk into parliament but not come by car.

Authorities, however, said it was unsafe for legislators to do so.

Police said around 9,000 "red-shirts" descended on parliament overnight after at least 20,000 Thaksin supporters had gathered on Sunday night at a city centre parade ground several kilometres away.

"We call for the government to dissolve the house and return power to the people," said pro-Thaksin leader Chalerm Yoobamrung.

Abhisit won a parliamentary vote two weeks ago to become Thailand's third premier in four months.

MOST VIEWED

  • Negotiations on EBA being held

    In an effort to defuse tensions, a senior government official said Cambodia is negotiating with the European Union (EU) on the Everything But Arms (EBA) trade deal, which allows the Kingdom to export goods to the 28-member bloc tariff-free. The EU notified Cambodia on October 5

  • Ministers to tackle sea pollutants

    Preah Sihanouk provincial authorities and members of local communities have collected 77 tonnes of water hyacinth at a Sihanoukville beach, Preah Sihanouk Provincial Hall spokesperson Or Saroeun said. He told The Post yesterday that the aquatic weeds had been floating along some of the province’s

  • Chinese police escort deported scam suspects

    Ninety-one Chinese nationals accused of extorting money from victims in a Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) scam were deported from Phnom Penh International Airport on Monday under the escort of 182 Chinese police personnel. General Department of Immigration head of investigations Ouk Hay Seila told reporters

  • Sam Rainsy, government group set to clash at IPU Geneva meet?

    Opposition figure Sam Rainsy has been invited to speak at the General Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) in Geneva, according to a former Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) lawmaker. A government delegation is also set to attend the meeting, a National Assembly press release