Anti-govt protesters return to Lumpini Park

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BANGKOK, Oct 10 – Anti-government protesters agreed to end their protest at Government House today, and moved back to Lumpini Park to ‘save face’ for Thailand ahead of the official visit of the Chinese premier, which begins tomorrow.

Gen Preecha Iamsuphan, a key leader of the People’s Army against the Thaksin Regime, announced the group’s stance after negotiating with metropolitan police at the protester’s rally site at Gate 3 of Government House.

He said the People’s Army will move back to its first rally site, Lumpini Park, with police providing public buses to help transport the demonstrators and their belongings.

The protest leader insisted the movement’s decision does not mean that it is defeated, but said the movement wanted to help maintain the country’s image as Chinese Premier Li Keqiang is scheduled to visit the kingdom on Friday and Government House will be the venue for his welcoming ceremony.

Gen Preecha said the group wanted to avoid any possible clashes between the protesters and security personnel.

The Cabinet earlier imposed Internal Security Act (ISA) in three districts of Bangkok — Dusit, Phra Nakhorn and Pom Prab Sattru Phai — from Oct 9-18 — to allow security agencies to maintain law and order.

The protest leader reaffirmed the People’s Army will not end its protest at Lumpini Park and will later return to Government House.

As Gen Preecha announced the group’s decision, police personnel were withdrawn from the area to open way for the protesters to leave their rally site. Phitsanulok Road was then opened for traffic.