Bangkok: Some 10,000 Thai anti-government
protesters held a candlelight vigil on Wednesday to honour the
nation`s revered king, forming a sea of flickering light in
the city`s old quarter.
"We are lighting candles to show our loyalty to His
Majesty the King," protest leader Veera Musikapong told the
crowd of red-shirted supporters of former premier Thaksin
The "Red Shirts" have held rolling demonstrations since
March 14 to push for fresh elections to replace a government
they say is illegitimate and the tool of the country`s elites.
Thaksin, who lives in exile to avoid a jail term for
corruption, has been accused by his critics of disloyalty to
King Bhumibol Adulyadej -- a grave offence in Thailand, where
the monarch is regarded by many as a demi-god.
The 82-year-old, who is the world`s longest-reigning
monarch, has been hospitalised since September with a lung
infection and fever. He has appeared in public several times
The large crowd at the vigil, which stretched out along a
main Bangkok avenue, sang a song in praise of the monarch, and
then chanted "Long Live the King".
Reds leaders are also planning a rally on Saturday which
they say will "shut down" Bangkok and exceed the parade they
mounted in the capital last weekend which drew 65,000 people
in a noisy but peaceful procession.