Protest leader adamant on not joining talks with caretaker govt


BANGKOK, Jan 13 – Anti-government protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban repeated his stance on Monday that he would definitely neither negotiate with the caretaker government  nor accept any conditions, pledging that the city shutdown will continue until it achieves victory.

“There will be no compromise or win-win solution. The people come out in full force to demonstrate their determination to bring home their victory,” the former deputy premier-turned-protest leader told the cheering crowd at Asoke intersection, one of the capital’s seven key business areas blocked by a large number of protesters.

“If we lose, we will have to become slaves of Thaksin. But if we win over the Thaksin regime, the people will have a new government by the people leading the country towards a new reform, he said. “Then the country will move forward and the People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) will immediately end (the protest) and return home.

Mr Suthep reiterated that once the fight is over, with the Thaksin regime being eradicated, he will end his political role without accepting any positions.

He also pledged to fight alongside all the protesters to the end.

The former opposition Democrat MP from Surat Thani province in the south then left Asoke to Pathum Wan intersection, the main protest site under the PDRC’s Bangkok Shutdown campaign, which brought Bangkok’s usual snarled traffic to a halt as the city roads were taken over by a large number of whistle-blowing demonstrators.

Mr Suthep repeated his stance shortly after the caretaker government called for a meeting with the PDRC, the opposition Democrat Party and all other stakeholders in an attempt to resolve the political crisis and reconsider postponing the Feb 2 election as proposed by the country’s Election Commission (EC).

Suranand Vejjajiva, secretary general to the caretaker premier, said Ms Yingluck instructed her deputy, Pongthep Thepkanjana, to call a meeting on Wednesday in an attempt to resolve the current political conflicts. The premier will chair the meeting herself among participants from the EC, all political parties, the PDRC, supporters and  those against the election, Constitutional Court, National Human Rights Commission as well as the Council of State.

The caretaker premier returned home in Bangkok in the evening amid tight security after chairing a security assessment meeting with key ministers at the Office of the Permanent Secretary for Defence in northern Bangkok’s Muang Thong Thani. The anti-government protesters earlier threatened to cut off water and electricity to Ms Yingluck’s residence in an attempt to pressure her to resign. Crowd-control police units have been deployed in areas around her residence to provide safety.

Elsewhere in the South, the major stronghold of the Democrat party, anti-government protesters in many provinces blockaded provincial halls in parallel with the capital’s shutdown forcing closures at a number of government offices and schools. Civil servants were barred from entering their offices.