Monday, April 19, 2010

Government of Thailand Is Promised Support

The pro-government “yellow shirt” movement added to Thailand’s tensions on Sunday with a threat to challenge the red-shirt protesters with a counterdemonstration if the government did not move quickly to crush them.

“We give the government seven days to return peace to the country or we, every member of the P.A.D., will perform our duty under the Constitution,” said Chamlong Srimaung, a leader of the yellow shirts, whose formal name is the People’s Alliance for Democracy.

“Prepare yourselves for the biggest rally when we will eat and sleep on the street again,” he said, referring to months of crippling protests by the yellow shirts in 2008 that culminated in a weeklong takeover of Bangkok’s airports.

Red-shirt demonstrators have paralyzed parts of Bangkok for more than a month, demanding that the government step down and call a new election. A clash between rival demonstrations could lead to the kind of widespread violence that analysts say would be difficult to control.

The yellow-shirt statement, during a gathering of about 3,000 supporters, came as the red shirts and the military exchanged their own warnings about a possible confrontation this week.

The red shirts, who have built a tent city in Bangkok’s commercial center, said they would rally Tuesday in the nearby financial district. Their mood has become increasingly militant and angry since a clash with security forces a week ago in which 24 people died.

An army spokesman said that the soldiers would be ready for them.

“We won’t let them go anywhere further,” the spokesman, Col. Sansern Kaewkamnerd, said on television. “Whatever will be, will be. If we have to clash, we will. We can’t just think we don’t want casualties.”

He said soldiers would be stationed in high-rise buildings at the main rally site, which is surrounded by shopping malls and five-star hotels.

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