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Ambassador Quinton Quayle: first diplomat to urge a peaceful demonstration

Phuket Reds Head Out: Ambassador Urges Peace

Tuesday, March 9, 2010
BRITISH Ambassador Quinton Quayle has become the first diplomat to urge red shirt protesters to keep their mass demonstration peaceful this weekend.

About 500 red shirt supporters from Phuket are already making their way to join the Bangkok demonstration on Sunday.

As a precautionary measure, Thailand's Cabinet today approved the introduction of the Internal Security Act from March 11-23.

Red shirt leaders are placing faith in a street protest turnout of one million people or more to bring down the government.

Phuket red shirt leader Sunthorn Toema said today that he will leave Phuket tomorrow and planned on staying in Bangkok ''until we have achieved our aim.''

Most of the protesters are likely to want the demonstration to remain peaceful but radicals on both sides may view the turnout as an opportunity to incite a violent confrontation.

Khun Toema said he fully expected more than a million people to head for Bangkok for the main mass parade on March 14.

Ambassador Quayle, with the British Embassy in the zone likely to be occupied by hundreds of thousands of red shirts, called for compromise at a media conference at the headquarters of the Puea Thai Party today.

The ambassador, who speaks fluent Thai, engaged in an hour-long exchange with party leader Yongyuth Wichaidit.

Along with most embassies, the British embassy is advising its citizens to exercise caution during the period of likely protest and if possible to avoid Bangkok.

Tourists transiting through Bangkok to Phuket are not expected to encounter any problems.

Those coming to Phuket on direct flights are even less likely to become involved in any way. Phuket is almost 900 kilometres from the capital.

Mr Quayle said that the airports blockades in 2008 by yellow shirts and last year's Songkran riots in Bangkok and Pattaya by red shirts caused severe damage to Thailand.

A recurrence of violence would directly affect tourism and investment, he warned.

The protest is seen as the most stern challenge yet to PM Abhisit Vejjajiva and the government that came to power in 2008, thanks to the yellow shirts.

Khun Abhisit has cancelled a planned visit to Australia. What's difficult to gauge is how many red shirts still support convicted and discredited former PM Thaksin Shinawatra, who once had a huge power base in Thailand.

A fugitive from Thai justice, Khun Thaksin continues to try to influence events from tolerant countries outside Thailand.
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No internal security act when the yellow mob crippled the country but now their people are running scared

Posted by azzagood on March 9, 2010 17:49


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