Home > Local News > Hundreds Rally in Bangkok Over Cambodian Border Dispute

Hundreds Rally in Bangkok Over Cambodian Border Dispute

A supporter of the People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD) gestures
during a rally outside the Government House in Bangkok, 25 Jan 2011
Hundreds of Thai nationalists staged a rally in Bangkok Tuesday to
demand the government take a stronger line in its border dispute with
Cambodia.

About 2,000 to 3,000 members of the People’s Alliance
for Democracy, also known as the Yellow Shirts, took to the streets
under the watchful eyes of nearly 4,000 security forces to demand that
Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva revoke an agreement on the handling of
border issues with Cambodia.  The protesters’ ranks included two
smaller nationalist groups.

Five men in possession of unauthorized firearms and explosives were arrested the night before the rally.

The
PAD has been generally supportive of Mr. Abhisit’s government, which is
backed by the military and the monarchy.  But they feel it responded
too weakly to the arrest by Cambodian forces of seven Thai nationals in
a contested border area last month.

Five of the seven were
given suspended jail sentences and have returned to Thailand.  But an
organizer from the nationalist Thai Patriots Network and his secretary
remain in Cambodia facing espionage charges.

PAD leaders want
the prime minister to renounce a 2000 memorandum of understanding on
the handling of border disputes with Cambodia, withdraw from the United
Nations cultural agency UNESCO and pressure Cambodian nationals to move
out of disputed border areas.  UNESCO lies at the heart of a separate
border dispute over land near the Preah Vihear temple, which has been
declared a world heritage site.

PAD has pledged to continue protests indefinitely, but Mr. Abhisit has already rejected their demands as impractical.

The
Yellow Shirts occupied Government House for three months in 2008,
departing only when Mr. Abhisit’s predecessor was ousted by a court
ruling.

PAD is rivaled by the so-called “Red Shirts” who are
loyal to former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, overthrown in 2006
in a bloodless coup.  As many as 27,000 to 30,000 Red Shirts held a
rally of their own on Sunday.

VOA NEWS
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Categories: Local News
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