Thailand`s `Yellow Shirts` call for martial law
Thailand`s pro-establishment "Yellow Shirts" called on Monday for the imposition of martial law to end mass anti-government protests by the rival "Red Shirts”, warning they may take action themselves.
Bangkok: Thailand`s pro-establishment "Yellow Shirts" called on Monday for the imposition of martial law to end mass anti-government protests by the rival "Red Shirts”, warning they may take action themselves.
The Reds were on alert for a crackdown by the security forces on their fortified camp in the heart of Bangkok, where tensions remained high after a grenade attack late Sunday on the house of a former premier injured 11 people.
Twenty-six people have died and almost 1,000 have been injured in the capital this month in Thailand`s bloodiest civil violence in almost two decades, despite a state of emergency in Bangkok and surrounding areas.
The Yellows, formally known as the People`s Alliance for Democracy (PAD), have said they will take action to "protect the country" if authorities do not deal with the thousands of anti-government "Red Shirt" protesters.
A one-week deadline set by the Yellows for an end to the crippling protests expired with no end in sight and the movement called on its supporters to begin their own peaceful demonstrations.
"The Prime Minister knows well that in this situation military measures are needed because it was hard to resolve it through politics," said Suriyasai Katasila, spokesman for the Yellows` New Politics Party.
"There should be an announcement of martial law," he said. "If the situation does not improve, PAD will consider intensifying its measures."
Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva has rejected an offer by the Reds, who mostly support former premier Thaksin Shinawatra, to disperse if elections are held in three months` time -- softening earlier demands for snap polls.
Appearing on national television on Sunday alongside his Army chief, Abhisit vowed to retake the sprawling protest site that has paralysed Bangkok`s main retail district, but gave no indication of when a crackdown might come.
Thailand is largely split between the mainly rural poor and urban working class Reds, and the Yellows who staged their own street protests that heralded a 2006 coup ousting their enemy Thaksin.
Yellow protesters in 2008 blockaded Bangkok`s two main airports, before a controversial court verdict removed Thaksin`s allies and allowed a parliamentary vote that brought in the current government.
The Yellows had remained largely silent since the Reds began mass rallies in mid-March demanding immediate elections, but there are now growing fears of clashes between the rival groups.