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Protest march against Thai leader overwhelms Bangkok's shopping

Written by: Staff
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Bangkok, Mar 26 (UNI) Thousands of protesters in Thailand today marched across Bangkok's central shopping areas in a bid to underpin their dissatisfaction over Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra's handling of certain issues. It is a major attempt to oust the leader follwing protests Since the last two months.

The protestors followed by leaders of the People's Alliance for Democracy(PAD), called on the Thai people to cast a "no vote" in the April two snap elections during the march.

The forenoon march today came after a huge PAD-organised rally outside the Prime Minister's office last night where protestors asked for Thailand's revered monarch intervention to replace Mr Thaksin with a neutral administration.

Mr Thaksin who returned to office for a record second-term after a landslide win in parliament elections last year, was widely expected to win the snap poll but the main opposition parties decided not to take part saying it would not be free and fair.

Thai opposition parties and the PAD are demanding constitutional reform under a neutral government and have rejected Mr Thaksin's promise to initiate the reform after the election.

In a separate weekend rally, the main opposition Democrat Party, which is also one of the oldest parties in the country, demanded for a royally appointed government to ensure that the constitutional reform can be effective.

The youthful Democrat chief Abisit Vejjajiva declared at the rally that his party's boycott of the snap election was not a rejection of democracy but meant to pave the way for genuine constitutional checks and balances.

The main opposition parties and the PAD have charged Mr Thaksin with ''manipulation of public institutions'' to serve his political and personal interests.

Mr Thaksin first came to power five years ago on the back of populist promises which had won him widespread rural support as well as the backing of urban daily wage earners.

However, his opponents charged him with misusing his unprecedented popular mandate to stifle media freedom, human rights and promote cronyism.

UNI XC KD MSJ RN1612

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