Thai reconciliation plan accepted with condition

Leaders of an anti-govt demonstration said that they would accept the Thai PM`s road map for reconciliation.

Bangkok: Leaders of an anti-government demonstration said Monday that they would accept the Thai PM`s road map for reconciliation on the condition that the deputy premier faces police charges with them.

Nattawut Saikuer, core leader of the United Front for Democracy Against Dictatorship (UDD), made the demand while saying the movement would otherwise accept a peace plan proposed by Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva a week ago, which includes a promise to dissolve parliament between Sep 15 and 30 and hold elections Nov 14.

"We will quit the rally on the day that Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaungsuban agrees to face police charges with us," Nattawut said.

Suthep, the deputy prime minister in charge of security matters, was responsible for an April 10 crackdown on UDD protestors at Phan Fa Bridge in the old part of Bangkok, which left 25 dead and more than 800 wounded.

The leadership of the UDD, which has been staging protests in Bangkok since March 12 to force Abhisit to dissolve parliament, faces numerous charges for illegally occupying a prime commercial district in Bangkok since April 3 along with more serious charges of terrorism and insulting the king.

The leaders have been bargaining with the government to be assured bail once they end the protest, but the government is known to be opposed to bail for at least four of the most militant of the 24 UDD leaders.

"This is all about bargaining and posturing," said Thitinan Pongsudhirak, a political scientist at Bangkok`s Chulalongkorn University.

"It`s not the final," he said.