Thailand PM Abhisit in pledge to end Bangkok protest
BBC News (Link) (May 15, 2010)
Thailand�s PM Abhisit Vejjajiva has said troops will �push forward� with an operation to end an anti-government protest in the heart of Bangkok. He said military intervention was the only way to end the protest.
Clashes between troops and protesters killed six on Saturday, bringing the toll from three days of violence to 24.
There have been running battles around the fortified camp where red-shirted protesters, who want the prime minister to resign, have been based since March.
In his first televised comments since the violence erupted on Thursday, Mr Abhisit said he was trying to restore normality to the city with minimal loss.
�What the government and the security agencies are doing at the moment is necessary,� he said. �We can�t allow a situation where people set up armed groups and overthrow the government because they don�t agree with it... We cannot retreat because what we�re doing is for the good of the majority of the people.�
He said a minority of red-shirts opposed to dialogue were putting the stability of the country at risk. �We will not retreat,� he said.
Authorities earlier ruled out negotiations with the red-shirt faction, several thousand of whom remain in a camp barricaded by piles of bamboo, concrete blocks, razor-wire and burning tyres.
Explosions and gunfire
Saturday saw a continuation of the sporadic skirmishes around the camp that have marked the past few days.
Thick, black smoke curled into the air from piles of burning tyres as protesters threw petrol bombs and fireworks towards the army lines and soldiers responded with rubber bullets and in some cases, live rounds.
Earlier in the day, troops designated areas of the Thai capital as �live firing zones� in a warning to protesters.
The army says it is tightening its grip around the camp, which has taken over Rajprasong, a commercial district of high-end shops, hotels and embassies in central Bangkok, in order to starve it of reinforcements and supplies.
Army spokesman Col Sansern Kaewkamnerd said about 5,000 protesters remained, down from twice that number a few days ago.
He said more troops would be called to keep up the pressure and eliminate the protest base if necessary.
�If the protesters will not end the situation, we will have to enter the encampment,� he added.
Residents were being asked at security checkpoints to produce identification showing they lived in the area.
One of the protest leaders, Nattawut Saikua, told the encampment that help would be provided.
�We have been contacted by leaders in several provinces that they will mobilise to help us pressure the government,� Reuters news agency quoted him as saying.
There were reports on Saturday evening that about 2,000 anti-government protesters had gathered on a main road near the camp.
Some 170 people have been injured since the latest violence broke out on Thursday, and 27 people have been sent to jail, each given six-month sentences. All the fatalities have been civilians.
More than 50 people have been killed and at least 1,500 wounded in total since the protests began in mid-March, Thai officials have said.
Despite claims by the Thai government that the situation was under control and its soldiers had only fired in self-defence, army snipers have been accused of targeting protesters, and footage from Bangkok on Saturday showed red-shirts dragging gunshot victims to safety.
The violence escalated on Thursday after a renegade general who supports the protests was shot in the head by an unknown gunman.
Gen Khattiya Sawasdipol, better known as Seh Daeng (Commander Red), is in a critical condition.
About a third of the city is now under emergency rule, but while there are pockets of fighting, life beyond the barricades seems to be going on as normal, correspondents say.
The US embassy has stepped up its travel warnings, advising its citizens to stay away from Bangkok, and is offering to evacuate family members of diplomatic staff. The British Embassy, meanwhile, has warned there could be intense violence.
The US has encouraged the two sides �to find a way to work peacefully through these differences,� while UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has also urged restraint.
Many of the protesters support former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who was ousted in a 2006 coup.
They want Mr Abhisit to dissolve parliament and call fresh elections.
He had offered polls in November - but the two sides failed to agree a deal because of divisions over who should be held accountable for a deadly crackdown on protests last month.
Mr Thaksin has called on the government to withdraw troops and restart negotiations.
And when he had opened the second seal, I heard the second beast say, Come and see. And there went out another horse that was red: and power was given to him that sat thereon to take peace from the earth, and that they should kill one another: and there was given unto him a great sword.
I do not believe we are in the second seal period now, but in many places around the world I believe we are seeing the beginning signs, spurred on by the economic problems that I believe are referred to in the third seal.
And when he had opened the third seal, I heard the third beast say, Come and see. And I beheld, and lo a black horse; and he that sat on him had a pair of balances in his hand. And I heard a voice in the midst of the four beasts say, A measure of wheat for a penny, and three measures of barley for a penny; and see thou hurt not the oil and the wine.
I believe there will be many diverse reasons we will see unrest around the world, but I feel that it will be most prevalent in places where governments are the provider and promises made by those governments that are not kept.
As we see a continued push toward a New World Order in a world increasingly interconnected by business and money, we will see in crisis that governments will become increasingly powerful in shifting policy to fit agendas. In the end we will have the infrastructure in place for global governance and enough crisis to merit the placement of a man in the seat over that global governance. I expect to see further unrest like this, for whatever the reasons, leading up to the fulfillment of this time when nobody will be able to make war with this man who controls the New World Order - wherever you may live.
And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy. And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion: and the dragon [Lucifer] gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority. And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast. And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him? And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months. And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven. And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations. And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. If any man have an ear, let him hear. He that leadeth into captivity shall go into captivity: he that killeth with the sword must be killed with the sword. Here is the patience and the faith of the saints.