Thursday, June 23, 2011

Thai PM to rally at sensitive protest site

Thailand's Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva. -- PHOTO: AP

BANGKOK - DESPITE opposition fears of violence, Thailand's prime minister has vowed to go ahead with a campaign rally on Thursday at a Bangkok intersection that was the center of anti-government protests last year that ended with more than 90 people dead.

Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said the political rally, which comes ahead of the tense nation's July 3 elections, would allow his party to tell 'the truth' about what happened during the two-month demonstrations that paralysed the heart of this South-east Asian city in the spring of 2010.

The military eventually cracked down and the ensuing chaos left much of the skyline in flames.

'There has been one-sided criticism against the government and that (has) somewhat swayed the people,' Mr Abhisit told reporters on Wednesday.

'I'm confident people will open up for the speech and they would like to know (what happened last year) - it's something that's always on their minds.' The opposition Pheu Thai party issued a statement ordering its members to avoid the Ratchaprasong intersection, where the rally will be held in front of the Central World shopping mall - one of more than a dozen buildings set ablaze by unidentified arsonists on the chaotic, final day of protests.

Pheu Thai said it feared opponents could 'attempt to cause unrest and blame the party for it.' -- AP

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