Anti-government protesters cancel Bangkok rally
Bangkok: Thai supporters of a deposed
Prime Minister turned fugitive abruptly called off a mass
rally today after the government said it would deploy some
5,500 soldiers and police to keep order.
Thaksin Shinawatra's supporters had planned to protest
tomorrow outside Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva's office to
demand his resignation.
Abhisit had prepared for the rally by invoking the
stringent Internal Security Act from Saturday through Tuesday.
The ISA allows the government to use the military to keep
order in situations deemed harmful to national security.
Protest organisers criticised the government's
response as too harsh.
"We have decided to postpone the rally until September
5 because the government imposed the Internal Security Act on
us," said protest leader Nuttawut Sai-kua. "The fact that they
are using security laws shows they are afraid of us."
Past rallies have turned violent. An April protest in
downtown Bangkok turned into rioting that left two dead and
more than 120 injured.
Thaksin, ousted in a 2006 coup, remains at the centre
of a long political crisis in Thailand. The first elections
following his ouster brought his allies back to power, but
opponents eventually occupied Government House for three
months and shut down the capital's airports for a week last