State of emergency extended by new protest

A fresh rally planned by anti-government protesters will prolong a state of emergency in Thailand\’s capital Bangkok and surrounding areas, a government minister said.


Supporters of ousted premier Thaksin Shinawatra have announced they will regroup Saturday outside the emergency zone after rallies in Bangkok ended last week following street battles between demonstrators and armed soldiers.

But Satit Wonghnongtaey, the minister attached to the prime minister\’s office, said the protests in Samut Sakhon province, 36 kilometres (22 miles) outside Bangkok would worsen the kingdom\’s political chaos.

Rally to ‘worsen the crisis’

“The government is ready to deal with any chaos but the rally will affect the government\’s decision when to lift the state of emergency,” Satit told reporters.

“This is bad news for our country because it will worsen the crisis. They (Thaksin\’s supporters) should rely on parliament as the government is implementing charter amendments as demanded by the protesters,” he said.

‘Red shirts’ ready for more

On Monday Jakrapob Penkair, a senior member of the so-called “Red Shirt” protest movement loyal to fugitive Thaksin, told AFP from exile that the group would continue their campaign against Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva.

“We have developed some strategies,” Jakrapob told AFP in a telephone call diverted by an assistant to avoid detection.

The Red Shirts shut down an Asian summit in the beach resort of Pattaya on

April 11 and then clashed with troops in Bangkok on Monday. Two people were killed and 123 injured in the unrest in the capital.

The Red Shirts want Abhisit to quit and call elections, saying that he came to power unfairly in December after a court toppled Thaksin\’s allies from power.