Protest leader Suthep flatly rejects negotiations with govt


BANGKOK, Feb 15 – Protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban has reasserted his stance that the caretaker Cabinet must resign to pave the way for a people’s government. He categorically ruled out negotiations with the Yingluck Shinawatra administration.

In a strong speech at the Pathumwan protest site last night, the secretary general of the People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) said he did not trust the proposal for a neutral person to mediate the political conflicts and did not believe that a so-called national government would be successful in reforming Thailand.

“The only resolution for Thailand is an immediate resignation of Yingluck and her followers. Once they leave, a people’s government will be set up. It will be a legitimate government to return money to farmers and immediately start national reform,” he said.

“The issue of negotiations was raised again. My question is with whom do we negotiate? Someone said Yingluck and I should negotiate. I once said in front of the army chief that I would not negotiate with a puppet.”

After Ms Yingluck resigns, Mr Suthep said, a people’s government and a people’s assembly will be formed with the objectives of reforming Thailand in 12-18 months.

The PDRC secretary general said protesters, particularly supporters of the Network of Students and People for Reform of Thailand (NSPRT), were unperturbed by the government’s attempt to reclaim occupied protest sites on Ratchdamnoen Avenue and Chaeng Wattana Road yesterday morning.

The student network protesters have successfully retaken the Ratchdamnoen rally site near Government House, he said, adding that police could not reclaim a single inch of the protest area on Chaeng Wattana Road despite confrontations yesterday.

He said police could not remove protesters at the Interior Ministry after PDRC supporters rushed from the Lumpini Park rally ground to help them.

Police raided on the rally sites on Ratchdamnoen Avenue, Chaeng Wattana Road and Interior Ministry yesterday morning in an attempt to reclaim the protest venues but they were unsuccessful and finally retreated.