Thai protesters launch mass rally against 'Bangkok Shutdown'

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Thai protesters launch mass rally
Bangkok, March 29: Thai anti-government protestors on Saturday launched a mass rally in Bangkok to push for a national reform before new general elections.

This is the first mass rally since protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban announced in late February to end a week-long operation to paralyse the capital, known as 'Bangkok shutdown', Xinhua reported.

The Saturday rally is a call for carrying out immediate reform before any hasty elections, Suthep said. He has led several warm-up marches in Bangkok over the past days to mobilise people to take part.

The protestors started marching from their main rally site at the Lumpini Park to the Royal Plaza in the capital. Tens of thousands of people have been joining in and crowding the streets.

Protestors marched from Lumpini Park to the Royal Plaza in the capital

The Erawan Emergency Centre of the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration has put more than 40 medical teams on stand-by. Suthep called the mass rally soon after the Constitutional Court March 21 annulled the Feb 2 general elections.

Following the court verdict, the Election Commission (EC) is obliged to organise a new election in 60 days, in accordance with the constitution and electoral law. But it is widely speculated that any new poll might be deferred indefinitely.

The Democrat Party, a former major opposition party that boycotted the Feb 2 elections, is yet to decide whether to contest a new one, while 53 other parties have voiced their support for fresh elections to be held soon.

Leaders and representatives of the 53 parties Friday urged the EC to meet with the caretaker government next week to discuss preparations for a new election.

IANS

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