Thai PM Yingluck Shinawatra in emotional plea to protesters, refuses to quit

Urging the protesters to cool down and be fair to her, Thai PM Yingluck Shinawatra on Tuesday said that she won`t resign until a fresh government was chosen after February`s snap elections.

By Supriya Jha | Last Updated: Dec 10, 2013, 17:07 PM IST

Zee Media Bureau

Bangkok: Urging the protesters to cool down and be fair to her, Thai PM Yingluck Shinawatra on Tuesday said that she won`t resign until a fresh government was chosen after February`s snap elections.

In an emotional plea, that saw tears welling up in the eyes of the Thai PM, Yingluck entreated the protesters to show some "fairness" to her and wait for the "electoral system to choose who will become the next government".

Speaking during the weekly cabinet meeting at the Thai Army club, she said, "We are fellow Thais. Why do we have to hurt one another. I have retreated so far and I don`t know where to retreat further. Do you want me to not even set foot on Thai soil?"

"I must do my duty as caretaker prime minister according to the constitution..I have retreated as far as I can - give me some fairness," the BBC quoted her as saying.

Thai PM`s plea to protesters came on Tuesday when the streets were quieter after a day of "final showdown" on Monday when more than a lakh of protesters had crowded outside key govt headquarters, demanding the PM`s resignation and her replacement with a "people`s prime minister".

After more than a fortnight of sustained protests aimed at "uprooting the Thaksin regime", Ms Yingluck had yesterday dissolved the Thai Parliament and called for fresh elections the date for which was proposed to be Feb 2.

However despite the election call, the protesters continued with the demonstrations converging in huge numbers at government offices.

The protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban said that that the movement will continue.

"We will select a people`s prime minister and set up a government of the people and a people`s assembly to replace parliament," he said.

"Although the House is dissolved and there will be new elections, the Thaksin regime is still in place," he had said.

Suthep`s followers have been rallying for more than a couple of weeks now and they have been occupying the Finance Ministry and other key government headquarters.

The protest that started last month grew violent when the stone-pelting protesters tried to barge into the government house and were treated to tear gas and water cannon firing from the police.

The protesters had decided to halt the demonstrations last week in wake of the 86th birthday of their revered King Bhumibol Adulyadej.

However, the peaceful episode in Thailand did not last long with the protesters coming back to rally.

Five people have died in the protests and the demonstrations are said to be the biggest since that of 2010 when 90 people had been killed.

The protesters allege that the current government is being run as a puppet regime by PM`s brother Thaksin Shinawatra.

Thaksin Shinawatra, who is now in a self-imposed exile, was ousted in 2006 in a coup after being accused of corruption and abuse of power.