PM reaches out to Thai protesters

Human rights commissioners have
offered to mediate talks between the government and the United Front for Democracy
against Dictatorship (UDD).

National Human Rights
Commission chairman Amara Pongsapitch said the commission had received a
request from UDD leaders for a chance to talk with the government and she had
conveyed the message to the prime minister.

“The government has given an
assurance it would not impose the emergency decree unless it is really
necessary.  If the emergency decree is used, it must not affect the basic
rights of the people” Mrs Amara said.

Prime Minister Abhisit Veijaiva reiterated the
government’s willingness to enter talks with the UDD leaders.

“In order to find political
solutions the government is ready to hear the opinions of all
parties.  I am sincere about talking and the exchange of rational
opinions, provided the rally remains lawful,” Mr Abhisit said.

He admitted the government was
worried about several activities of the UDD, such as the splattering of human
blood and blockades.

“Drawing, pouring and throwing
of blood is not all legal.  The government will act to maintain the
sanctity of the law and show flexibility and patience, and will try not to
increase tension.

“But the government cannot
ignore the throwing [of blood] and will take legal action against offenders,”
he said.

During the rally of the UDD at Mr
Abhisit’s house this week some red-shirts threw bags of blood and other objects
over the fence and some landed on the roof.  Police are preparing a case
for legal action.

The UDD responded on to the prime
minister’s repeated offer, saying there could be no talks as long as the
government refuses to consider dissolving the House of Representatives and calling
a general election.

Mr  Jatuporn
said the UDD is ready for talks but the government must not set
pre-conditions.  Moreover, the UDD would talk only with Mr Abhisit, not
his representatives.