Thai leader, protesters reject army’s peace plan
BANGKOK, Thailand – A call by Thailand’s powerful army commander to end the country’s deepening political crisis was rebuffed Wednesday, as the prime minister rejected his suggestion to step down, and protesters refused to end their occupation of the country’s main airport.
Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat justified his stance saying he came to power through elections and has “a job to protect democracy for the people of Thailand.” He spoke from the northern city of Chiang Mai, a stronghold of government supporters.
His rejection of Army Gen. Anupong Paochinda’s plan seemed to put him on a collision course with the military although the general has said he would not launch a coup.
The anti-government People’s Alliance for Democracy insisted it would continue its airport occupation and other protest activities until Somchai resigns. It rejected the general’s proposal for new elections, pushing instead for the appointment of a temporary government.
As the deadlock continued, political violence spread Wednesday to Chiang Mai, where government supporters attacked a radio station aligned with the protesters.
© Copyright 2008 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.