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Thai PM Will Not Resign in Face of Protests


Thai officials say Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej will not resign despite massive street protests calling for his ouster.

Thousands of protesters are camping outside Mr. Samak's office in Bangkok, demanding his resignation. But spokesmen for the prime minister told reporters Saturday that Mr. Samak has no intention of stepping down.

After initially scuffling with demonstrators Friday, police offered little resistance to the huge crowd, which surged to the gates of Mr. Samak's office to stage a sit-in.

Protesters delivered anti-government speeches, waved flags and sang songs. They have vowed to wait outside the prime minister's office until he steps down.

Members of the People's Alliance for Democracy have gathered in the streets of the capital for the past three weeks, demanding Mr. Samak's resignation.

The PAD accuses the prime minister's government of being a proxy for his predecessor, Thaksin Shinawatra, who was forced out of office nearly two years ago.

The PAD also led demonstrations calling for Mr. Thaksin's resignation before a bloodless military coup in 2006 removed him from office.

A small group of pro-government supporters has gathered near the demonstrators.

Military commanders say the army is ready to take action if demonstrations turn violent.

Over the past month, fears of confrontation have fed a 13 percent decline on Thailand's stock exchange.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.

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