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Thai Election Commission office stormed

[ 2010-04-06 12:56]     字号 [] [] []  
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Hundreds of anti-government protesters forced their way into Thailand's Election Commission building on Monday, raising the stakes in a rolling four-week street rally aimed at toppling the government.

The red-shirted protesters, supporting ousted Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, have occupied Bangkok's main shopping district for three days in a bid to force Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva to dissolve parliament and call an election.

The "red shirts" have accused the Election Commission of stalling in an investigation of alleged irregularities by Abhisit's ruling Democrat party in a $7.9 million election campaign donation in 2005 from cement manufacturer TPI Polene, which could lead to the party's dissolution.

The storming of the building came hours after the protesters threatened to expand their increasingly confrontational rally, which Bank of Thailand Governor Tarisa Watanagase said could hurt the economy if it continues. Despite warnings they could face a year in jail, tens of thousands remained encamped in an area of upscale department stores and luxury hotels, and said they had no plans to leave, forcing retailers to shut their doors and snarling traffic.

Hundreds tore up fliers ordering them to vacate.

Thai stocks, which have climbed 81 percent over the past 12 months, were about 0.6 percent weaker on concerns over the prolonged protest, bucking gains in most other Asian markets. The baht currency eased about 0.2 percent to 32.38 per dollar in thin trade.

Abhisit has called the rally unlawful, but there has been no sign security forces would disperse the mostly rural and working class "red shirts", who say they will not leave until parliament is dissolved.

The government filed a court order on Monday to disperse the crowd and planned to file another to arrest leaders of the rally, which it says violates Thailand's tough Internal Security Act imposed last month to maintain order during the protests.

But the protesters remained defiant. "We won't leave. We have sent our lawyer to the court and will submit an objection immediately if the court issues any order to force us to leave," said Nattawut Saikua, a protest leader.


(中国日报网英语点津 Helen 编辑)

Thai Election Commission office stormed

About the broadcaster:

Thai Election Commission office stormed

Lee Hannon is Chief Editor at China Daily with 15-years experience in print and broadcast journalism. Born in England, Lee has traveled extensively around the world as a journalist including four years as a senior editor in Los Angeles. He now lives in Beijing and is happy to move to China and join the China Daily team.