Thousands of Thai protesters prepare to march on Government House

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Monday, March 13, 2006

Thailand's national flag

With Thailand's The Nation reporting over 100,000 in attendance at the latest rally against PM Thaksin Shinawatra, the People's Alliance for Democracy plans to spend the night at Sanam Luang before marching on Government House in the morning.

Reports indicate that over 6,000 officers are involved in policing the event, but no trouble is anticipated. Police do not intend to prevent the protesters from marching to Government House.

This latest large-scale protest against the caretaker Prime Minister is likely the most significant since the February 26 protest, and with pro-Thaksin groups making their way to Bangkok, the bloody confrontation of 1992 has been brought up as a reminder. Free to air TV stations have broadcast coverage of the King's intercession in the '92 dispute, where a popular uprising had been met with a military crackdown. Panthep Puapongpant, a PAD representative, indicated that the protest for Tuesday morning would take heed of the advice and proceed peacefully. Concerns over a potential clash with pro-Thaksin groups have been averted as a result of the PM's supporters planning their rally for March 16.

With voters' choices in the upcoming April 2 election already severely restricted due to the three main opposition parties' boycott, the disqualification of candidates from minor parties further reduces the options open to those who don't boycott the election. Up to 200 may be disqualified for reasons such as holding party membership for less than 90 days or having membership in more than one party.

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