Embattled Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej called the political crisis in Thailand a shameful embarrassment for the country but vowed not to resign or dissolve Parliament, saying today it was his job to protect democracy.
Samak vowed in a live radio broadcast that he would not bow to demands of anti-government protesters, a stance likely to inflame a national crisis that started Aug. 26 when thousands of activists occupied the grounds of his office compound.
“I am not resigning. I have to protect the democracy of this country,” said Samak, who has not been able to enter his office since the protesters set up camp on the grounds of Government House.
“I am outside, and I can’t work properly,” he said, noting several times that the world was watching Thailand. “Is it shameful? Yes.”
But he added, to “resign won’t mean anything, even if I dissolve the Parliament.”
News of the planned radio broadcast leaked Wednesday night, fueling speculation that Samak’s resignation was imminent. The front-page of the English-language Nation newspaper ran with the banner headline today: “Samak on the Brink of Exit.”
400 cops fail honesty test
At least 400 municipal police will be fired in Ciudad Juarez because they failed honesty tests, the mayor of the border city announced, and Mexican soldiers were patrolling in their place Wednesday.
Mayor Jose Reyes Ferriz said that many of the officers admitted to corruption during lie-detector and other “trustworthiness” tests.
“Many of them accepted having been bribed or having been linked to organized crime during this analysis,” the mayor told reporters this week.
Five hundred Mexican troops arrived over the last week after Reyes asked for help from the Defense Ministry, said Mauricio Mauricio Rodriguez, a spokesman for the 1,700-member police force.
Test results continue to be analyzed, and the number of fired officers could grow but would fall between 400 and 450, Mauricio Rodriguez said.
Ciudad Juarez, across the border from El Paso, is at the epicenter of a bloody turf war between drug trafficking groups seeking to secure prime routes for smuggling cocaine, marijuana and amphetamines to the U.S.
More than 1,000 people have been killed so far this year in the state of Chihuahua – most of them in Ciudad Juarez.