Thailand protest cancelled at last minute

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Monday, October 13, 2008

Last night saw police in Thailand holding a closed-doors meeting to discuss their planned response to the People's Alliance for Democracy's (PAD) planned demonstration. In reports from the Thai News Agency late in the day, the PAD had given assurances that the protest would be peaceful. Yet, this morning the protest has been postponed. According to the Bangkok Post this is to permit the PAD leaders to attend the cremation ceremonies of the two protesters who were killed in clashes with police on October 7.

Last Tuesday's clashes between protesters and police saw the two fatalities along with over 400 injured. Fifteen of those hurt during the protest remain in hospital - seven of these are said to be in a critical condition, including one man at Ramathibodi Hospital who lost his right arm. An investigation into the incident is being carried out by a sub-committee appointed by Thailand's Human Rights Commission; police were set to demonstrate the firing of tear gas to the committee on Sunday afternoon, this being an attempt to counter allegations levelled at police by the PAD that other explosive devices were employed.

In preparation for the planned rally, police had sought reinforcements, bringing the total number of officers stationed around their headquarters to over one thousand. Entrances to the building had been sealed amid reports that pro-government protesters were due to arrive in Bangkok.

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