Bangkok, May 18 (ANI): The standoff between Thai security forces and Red Shirt protestors continued with the government firmly refusing to recall troops or hold further talks until the rally ended.
The breakdown of the negotiations was the last straw for the government, and it has been amassing massive army reinforcements to flush out the remaining protestors.
Incidentally, most of the angry young men whose angst had thus far spearheaded the protests have left the disputed site and only old people, women and children remain.
The government had issued a deadline of 3 pm for the protestors to vacate the area on Monday which resulted in the departure of many young protestors, but some stayed back.
The establishment's original plans to advance into the area have now been deferred amidst fears about the possibility of an extremely high casualty count if they proceed.
Gen Anupong, chief of the Royal Thai Army, did not want the security forces to be hastily deployed as he was concerned about the risk of casualties among troops and protesters, the Bangkok Post reports.
"When we're ready, we'll reach our final goal at the Ratchaprasong intersection. But right now, there's still a high risk of lots of casualties," a CRES source said. Meanwhile Red Shirt leader Natthawut Saikua is still hoping for a resumption of peace talks.
"Mr Abhisit should not rule out potential talks based on the fact that the earlier rounds failed," he said. "Even though this may take time, I believe it's better than letting the killings continue."
He has also said he won't be clearing the rally site in a hurry and is hopeful of a positive response to a request the UDD had sent to the UN for them to step in and mediate in the negotiations.
Former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra has also joined the UDD in their call for UN intervention.
Korbsak Sabhavasu, secretary-general to the prime minister, made it clear the renewed negotiations would never come about until the demonstrators dispersed, the paper said.
"Negotiations can happen if the protest stops and its leaders surrender. But if this does not happen, they [the UDD leaders] should tell the mobs to stop the rioting and the burning of the ity and tyres. As Mr Natthawut said he could issue orders, does this mean that he ordered the mobs to create violence?" Mr Korbsak said. (ANI)