Friday, January 23, 2009

Thailand's anti-govt 'Red Shirt' protesters petition embassies

BANGKOK, Jan 23 (TNA) - Leading members of a high-profile anti-government group on Friday submitted letters to the Myanmar and Singapore embassies here to protest against Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva and Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya attending the regional Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit in Thailand in late February.
The 'Red Shirt' United Front for Democracy Against Dictatorship (UDD), an anti-government group led by key supporters of convicted former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra --Jakrapob Penkair, former minister to the prime minister's office and Nattawut Saikua, former government spokesman, presented their letter to representatives of the Myanmar embassy and Singapore embassy respectively.

The letter said the group opposed the Thai prime minister and foreign minister leading a Thai delegation to attend the ASEAN summit, arguing that the Abhisit government came to power through undemocratic means.

Speaking to reporters after handing the letters to embassy representatives, Mr. Jakrapob said the representatives promised to give the letters to their ambassadors and governments respectively.

"We would not block the regional summit, but we oppose the designated Thai delegates attendence at the summit," Mr. Jakrapob said.

He also vowed to petition all embassies representing ASEAN member countries next week.

ASEAN comprises Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

Thailand has several times changed the venue and date of the summit from the original schedule of mid-December in Bangkok after a previous group of anti-government protesters, the People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD) occupied Bangkok's two commercial airports in December, which led to the toppling of the then Somchai Wongsawat government and the coming to power of the current Abhisit government.

The ASEAN summit has been rescheduled to be held in Thai resort town of Hua Hin from February 27 through March 1.


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