Defiant red shirts hold mass rally

Thailand has issued arrest warrants
for seven people allegedly involved in the storming of the country’s
parliament.

The move comes a day before more
mass anti-government protests scheduled to take place in the capital, Bangkok.

Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajivahas
has declared a state of emergency but thousands of protesters have vowed to
defy orders to disperse.

The escalating unrest has caused Mr
Abhisit to cancel plans to attend a summit of regional leaders in Vietnam.

The arrest warrants come after
thousands of red-shirted protesters stormed the parliament building on
Wednesday forcing MPs to flee.

Mr Abhisit said the action means
the red-shirt demonstrations can no longer be considered peaceful.

But he said that once “leaders
who prefer violence are arrested” he believed other protesters would be
persuaded to leave their current site, in the capital’s commercial district.

The authorities have also shut down
a television station used by the opposition United Front for Democracy (UDD) as
well as a number of anti-government websites, say reports.

Among those wanted by the
authorities is opposition leader Arisman Pongruangrong.

He was arrested in April last year
for being among a group which stormed a meeting of the leaders of South East
Asian leaders (Asean) in the southern resort of Pattaya, forcing its
cancellation.

Despite the state of emergency, the
red-shirted protesters show no signs of moving voluntarily from the commercial
district.

They want Mr Abhisit to resign and
call elections, saying his government is illegitimate as it was brought to
power with military support.

On Thursday, Mr Abhisit said he
would no longer be attending this year’s Asean summit, currently taking place
in Hanoi.

WORLDredshirtSTORY

Thai red shirts hold dozens of street rallies despite a state of emergency order issued earlier in the week.
Photo: Bangkok Post
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