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Thai ‘Yellow Shirts’ vow protest after Cambodia verdict

AFP/File – Thai ‘Yellow Shirts’ protesters are seen here during a rally outside Government House in Bangkok, …
BANGKOK (AFP) – Thai “Yellow Shirts” vowed to intensify protests in
Bangkok after a high-profile nationalist activist was jailed for eight
years in Cambodia, in a case that has raised border tensions.
The group issued an ultimatum threatening to step up their rally in the
capital after Veera Somkwamkid — a former leader of the Yellow
movement — and his secretary were sentenced by a Cambodian court on
Tuesday.
“The Thai government has three days to comply with our demands,
including bringing back those two people from Cambodia,” spokesman
Parnthep Pourpongpan said on Wednesday.
Hundreds of Yellow Shirts have camped out around the government’s
compound since last week, demonstrating against its handling of a
border dispute with neighbouring Cambodia, and the group plans a larger
rally on Saturday.
Despite relatively small numbers compared to their arch enemies — the
anti-government “Red Shirts” whose most recent rally attracted nearly
30,000 people — protesters have managed to choke off streets around
Government House.
Veera and Ratree Pipattanapaibul were were found guilty of illegal
entry into Cambodia, trespassing on a military area and spying.
The pair were among seven Thais arrested in Cambodia on December 29 while they were inspecting disputed border territory.
The other five — including a ruling party politician — received
suspended sentences for illegal entry on January 21 and have since
returned to Thailand.
The Thailand-Cambodia border has never been fully demarcated, partly
because it is littered with landmines left over from decades of war in
Cambodia.
Thai Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban said he was “disappointed” with the verdict.
He warned protesters to remain calm and said security had been stepped
up around key government buildings and the Cambodian embassy in Bangkok.
“Do not let this verdict trigger violence, we must solve the issue in peaceful way,” he said.
Yellow Shirts are a force to be reckoned with in Thailand’s
colour-coded politics and have helped to claim the scalps of three
governments in under five years, including that of fugitive former
premier Thaksin Shinawatra.
Officially known as the People’s Alliance for Democracy, they seized
two Bangkok airports in late 2008, leaving more than 300,000 travellers
stranded.
Bangkok Post
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Categories: Local News
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