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Police guards Thai PM's residence in face of mass rally

THREE companies of police have be deployed at the Bangkok residence of Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva this morning as anti-government red-shirt protestors are holding a mass rally in the city.

Police from Metropolitan Police Division 5 have set up check-points at the entrance roads in Sukhumvit Road No. 31, 32 and 35, which pass through Abhisit's house, to ensure safety of the premier who is now still at home.

On the other hand, Royal Plaza, the scheduled site for the gathering of red-shirted supporters of the United Front of Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD), has seen many red-shirts, said reporters at the site.

It is expected 30,000 red-shirts will join the rally, which is scheduled to begin at about 1 o'clock in the afternoon.

In other developments outside Bangkok, at least 1,000 red-shirts from 19 provinces in the Northeast late morning today marched to the home of Privy Council president Gen Prem Tinsulanonda in Nakhon Ratchasima province. After protest in front of Prem's house, they will go to Bangkok later to join the rally.

The pro-Thaksin movement accused Prem was the mastermind behind the 2006 coup.

Nattawut Saikua, leader of the so-called red-shirts, said on Thursday that today's protest will begin in the early afternoon at 1 p.m. at Bangkok's Royal Plaza and ousted premier Thaksin will telephone in via a video link in the evening to speak to his UDD supporters.

He insisted the demonstration will be peaceful and that participants will be unarmed in accord with the peoples' basic democratic rights under the Constitution.

Meanwhile, the government has imposed Interior Security Act since yesterday, which empowers the army to take over the security when the police are deemed unable to control the situation.


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