Efforts by anti-government protestors to force the administration of
Thai Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat to resign appear to be stalling.
Although the government has taken a soft approach to the protesters,
there are growing fears of violence. Ron Corben has this report from
Opponents of the Thai government early Tuesday moved
their protest to the temporary government offices at an airport outside
Bangkok in their effort to force Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat to
The rallies, seen as a "final push" by the
anti-government People's Alliance for Democracy or PAD, on Monday
forced parliament to delay its session by blocking access to the
While the government has taken a hands-off approach
to the protests, there were reports Tuesday evening of shooting between
groups of government opponents and supporters. In addition, about 50
government supporters were seen rallying Tuesday, and blocking streets.
It is not clear if anyone has been injured.
accuses Mr. Somchai of trying to pass constitutional amendments to halt
corruption cases against his brother-in-law, former Prime Minister
But Mr. Somchai, who has been in Peru for a
meeting of Asia Pacific leaders, dismisses the accusation. He
criticizes the PAD for leading a rebellion.
Public support for
the PAD appears to waning. It has occupied a government administration
building since late August and its leaders say they want to prevent the
cabinet and parliament from conducting any business.
commentator and author Chris Baker says the PAD's confrontational
strategy makes the government appear to be defending democratic ideals.
"The PAD and the people behind them have time after time have
challenged the very basis of electoral democracy by actions such as
disrupting the parliament, by the coup, by wishing to get rid of
one-man-one vote. This has turned those who are opposing them - that is
the Thaksin forces - into the defenders of democracy - the simplest
form of democracy - so this has become a massive confrontation," said
Security forces have so far avoided any direct
confrontation with the PAD protests. Authorities seek to avoid a repeat
of a clash last month in which two people died and about 400 wounded.
Thai army chief says the military will use "all necessary measures" to
avoid clashes by rival groups, and he rejects PAD calls for a coup.
has faced political uncertainty since 2005, when opponents of Mr.
Thaksin began protesting his government, accusing him of being corrupt
and authoritarian. He was ousted in a coup in 2006, but his supporters
were elected to power a year go.
But Mr. Thaksin, who this
week has reportedly vowed to return to politics, maintains strong
support in rural areas and among the urban working class who support
his populist economic policies of low cost health care.