Peaceful rally to enhance Thailand's democracy

09:12, March 18, 2010      

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A Thai red-shirted demonstrator pours blood at the gate of Prime Minister's house in Bangkok, Thailand, March 17, 2010. Thailand's red-shirts demonstrators poured blood at the gate of Prime Minister's house at about 12:00 a.m. local time Wednesday after they initiated the blood-pouring tactic Tuesday at the Government House and the headquarters of the ruling Democrat Party.(Xinhua/Lui Siu Wai)

If violence is avoided during the ongoing mass rally by the red-shirted protesters, it is to enhance the country's democratic movement, Deputy Prime Minister in charge of security affairs Suthep Thaugsuban said Wednesday.

"If the pretest leaders can carefully manage the rally to prevent violence, it will enhance the country's political movement for a democratic purpose," Suthep was quoted by the National News Bureau of Thailand as saying.

Moreover, Suthep said the government is open for dialogue with ousted former Thai premier Thaksin Shinawatra, but a negotiation must be made under a legal framework.

The pro-Thaksin red-shirt demonstration remained peaceful on Wednesday as the government tightened security measures in capital Bangkok to prevent violence.

Ten of thousands of protesters led by United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD) converged on Bangkok since March 12 to press the prime minister Abhisit Vejjajiva to dissolve the lower house of parliament and call new election.

Abhisit was given until noon on Monday to accept their demand but he refused to give in as thousands of protesters gathered outside the military barracks where Abhisit based.

In a symbolic protest to mount pressure, red-shirt demonstrators hurled plastic bags filled with their own blood in the house compound of Abhisit at noon on Wednesday after they poured human blood Tuesday at the Government House and the headquarters of the ruling Democrat Party.

With the number of protesters dwindling, the UDD announced a plan to scatter their rally in Bangkok on Saturday.

Meanwhile, the Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET) index climbed 13.34 points, or 1.77 percent, to close at 765.54.

Also, the Thai baht currency strengthened to 32.36 per U.S. dollar -- the strongest in 21 months on continued capital flows into the foreign exchange market despite of the anti-government protest.

Board of Investment (BOI) secretary-general Atchaka Sribunruang Brimble said if the mass rally does not turn violent, it won't affect the investment sentiment.

The Internal Security Act (ISA) has been enforced in and around Bangkok during March 11-23 with a 50,000-strong riot police and soldiers on standby to shun violence.

Source:Xinhua

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