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Thai Protests Leaders Welcome PM's Reconciliation Plan

Thai 'Red Shirt' anti-government protest leader Natthawut Saikua (2nd R), flanked by other protest leaders, makes an announcement on the latest proposal by Thai prime minister, 04 May 2010

Leaders of Thailand's anti-government protesters say they will consider a new government reconciliation plan. Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva's proposal to end nearly eight weeks of protests includes holding elections in November.

The protest leaders said Tuesday the government proposal needs further consideration and they will decide on a response later.

"We welcome this framework," said Sean Boonpracong, a spokesman for the group. "I think if Mr. Abhisit would like to see no more body count within a framework of peace, step-by-step negotiation, I think it's a good direction."

They had vowed to occupy a major commercial district until the government agreed to hold elections within three months.

Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva on Monday offered a plan that includes elections in November, an investigation into violence during the protests, assistance to the poor and the promotion of social justice.

The protesters, known as Red Shirts, are largely rural residents and the urban poor. Many support former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, and say the current government is illegitimate because it was selected by parliament.