Opposition 'Red Shirts' rule out talks with Thai Government

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Bangkok (Thailand), Apr.11 (ANI): Opposition 'Red Shirt' protesters have ruled out negotiations with the government of Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva.

On Sunday, Jatuporn Prompan, one of the leaders of the Red Shirt Movement, said the fight for early elections will continue, notwithstanding the fact that 20 people had been killed and close 900 persons had been injured in clashes with security forces.

Declaring the Vejjajiva Government illegitimate, as it did not reflect the results of the last elections, Prompan said the prime minister's hands are tainted with blood and he must quit and call for early elections.

"There is no more negotiation. Red Shirts will never negotiate with murderers. Although the road is rough and full of obstacles, it's our duty to honor the dead by bringing democracy to this country," Jatuporn announced from a makeshift stage here.

Bullet casings, rocks and pools of blood littered the streets near a main tourist area where soldiers had tried to clear the protesters, who are mostly rural and working-class supporters of ex-premier Thaksin Shinawatra who was ousted in a coup in 2006.

Foreign governments issued warnings for citizens visiting Thailand, where tourism is its lifeline.

On Sunday, the protesters the weapons they had captured from the troops, including rifles and heavy caliber machine-gun rounds. The activists also captured several Thai soldiers, who were later released.

Another protest leader, Nattawut Saikua, told reporters that funeral rites would be held Sunday evening for 14 dead protesters near where they fell, and that their bodies would be paraded through Bangkok on Monday.

The city of 15 million was relatively quiet on Sunday, even as 'Red Shirts' occupied two main areas of Bangkok.

A government spokesman said the army had been told to withdraw troops from the shopping district to get some rest. He also said no live rounds had been fired at protesters on Saturday and the government had found that weapons not used by the army had been fired.

The government said it had appointed a senior prime ministerial aide to establish contact with the 'Red Shirts', but they seemed to be in no mood to compromise.

Thai media reported that around 500 'Red Shirts' had again forced their way into the grounds of a Thaicom satellite earth station north of Bangkok. Other reports said an M79 grenade was fired at the headquarters of army-owned Channel 5 TV station in the northern province of Phayao early on Sunday.

On Saturday, hundreds of protesters forced their way into government offices in two northern cities.

The twice-elected Thaksin Shinawatra, in self-imposed exile since 2008 after sentenced to jail for corruption, was despised by many of the Bangkok elite, but is popular with the poor for policies like cheap healthcare and microcredit grants to villages. (ANI)

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