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New Thai anti-gov't rally in Bangkok peaceful, not prolonged

THE renewed Thai anti-government rally in central Bangkok last night was peaceful and not prolonged as it was scheduled to disperse at 23.00pm local time(1600 GMT).

In a related development, Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva earlier yesterday said he was confident the rally would not turn violent, the Thai-langauge news agency INN reported.

Abhisit said he had assigned security officials to ensure peace and order at the anti-government rally site at Sanam Luang, or the Royal Field in central Bangkok.

Also, the Prime Minister said he instructed the security officials to monitor the rally situation closely, even though the state of emergency was officially lifted, effective from 12.00pm local time, Friday.

The re-gathering rally, which was led by Somyos Pruksakaseamsuk, one of the second generation leaders of the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD), started at 17.00 p.m. local time at Sanam Luang.

By 20.00pm local time, the number of the anti-government protestors was approximately 3,000 in several color shirts, apart from the main red shirts, as urged by Somyos.

When interviewed by Xinhua reporter, Somyos said the UDD group had demanded the government to stop threatening UDD core leaders and return the facilities they had seized from the pro-UDD TV D-Station.

Also, he said they wanted the government to amend the 2007 Constitution, and to stop applying a double standard between his group and the yellow-clad People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD), which seized two Bangkok international airports late last year.

When asked about whether they still intend to topple the coalition government, his answer was "yes".

Talking about government's plan of renewing the 10th ASEAN Summit and Related Summits, Somyos said his group will notify all the ASEAN-related countries that the Thai government led by Abhisit Vejjajiva has no legitimacy to host the summits.

Prime Minister Abhisit on Tuesday said the government hopes to reschedule the ASEAN Summit and Related Summits for June.

The summits, initially scheduled to proceed on April 10-12 in Thai resort town Pattaya, were cancelled halfway after a flock of red-shirted UDD supporters rushed into the venue and media center on April 11.

Somyos also revealed that after the rally in Bangkok, they tentatively plan to circuit the movement in some other provinces, including Udon Thani, Lopburi, Chiangmai, Phatthalung, and Nakornratchasrima.

And, after completing the rallies in those provinces, the UDD-led group plans to hold a mass rally in Bangkok in mid-May, said Somyos.

During last night's rally the anti-government protestors floated white balloons in the sky as they claimed the white balloons were for remembering those red-shirted protestors who lost lives during the recent scattered rioting.

They did light candles across the square signifying their pursuit of "peace and democracy."


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