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White-mask anti-gov't movement spreads across Thailand


17:00, June 10, 2013

BANGKOK, June 10 (Xinhua) -- Anti-government movement featured by the white masks has recently developed into a nationwide campaign in Thailand, mounting pressure on the Yingluck Shinawatra administration which is accused of corruption and incompetence.

The new campaign was launched in the capital Bangkok earlier this month when about 700 white-masked protesters took to the street to oppose what they call "Thaksin Shinawatra's regime". They believed the government was controlled by the fugitive former prime minister who is also elder brother of Prime Minister Yingluck. They also demanded the resignation of Deputy Prime Minister Plodprasop Suraswadi for making insulting remarks against opponents.

On Sunday, about 1,000 white-masked demonstrators converged again at the Ratchaprasong intersection the core business zone of Bangkok, putting up anti-Thaksin placards and chanting slogans.

The movement was echoed by people in other parts of the country. About 100 white-masked protesters traveled on Sunday in a convoy of cars in the downtown area of the southern province of Surat Thani.

Samran Viroj, leader of the protesters and a former core member of the People's Alliance for Democracy, or the Yellow Shirts, said his group will continue various forms of protests against the government.

Meanwhile, in the central province of Ratchaburi, protesters met at a gymnasium to slam the government for its failure to deal with the high cost of living. They also criticized the government for rewriting the constitution and introducing amnesty, which they said were aimed to pave the way for Thaksin's return.

In the southern Songkhla province, about 100 protesters turned up in central Hat Yai city and attacked the government's 2- trillion-baht borrowing and the rice pledging scheme. They also lashed out against the government's inability in dealing with violence which has plagued the southern region for nine years.

As a response, the ruling Pheu Thai Party announced that its supporters would start a pro-government campaign across the country at the end of this month to counter the white-mask movement.

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