Politics | 27.04.2010
Thai Red Shirts disrupt rail
The Red Shirts have further intensified their protests in the Thai capital. On Tuesday they threw tyres onto the railway tracks in the city, forcing the closure of an elevated railway line. As a result Bangkok's Skytrain, which carries almost half a million passengers every day, was halted for at least four hours. Many commuters had to walk to work.
The protestors have also said they plan to start a rally on motorcycles and pick-up trucks from Wednesday to distribute pamphlets to persuade more people to join their campaign for immediate elections. Bildunterschrift: Großansicht des Bildes mit der Bildunterschrift: Anti-government protesters pray for their own safety, in Bangkok
They have fortified their makeshift camp in Bangkok's commercial heart, saying they fear an imminent crackdown. The move has forced at least five major shopping centres to close.
The authorities warn of action
The government has meanwhile reiterated that it will not tolerate road blocks by the protesters and warned again of tough action.
Hundreds of soldiers armed with guns have already been deployed to contain the protests in the capital.
"It is clear the protesters are not gathering peacefully. We will not be lenient with these people anymore," said Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban.
Premier Abhisit premier has rejected an offer by the Red Shirts to hold early polls.
Undermine the monarchy
The Thai authorities have also claimed that they have uncovered a plot to overthrow the kingdom's revered monarchy. They suspect that some senior figures of the Red Shirts are involved in the plot too. The government says it will take legal steps against anyone suspected of involvement.
The Red Shirts have however denied they were involved in any attempt to undermine the monarchy. They have also threatened to sue the government over the accusation.
On Monday, Thailand's revered king spoke on national television for the first time since the protests broke out. He addressed a group of newly appointed judges and spoke of the need for peace. But he did not directly mention the political crisis. The ailing 82 year old king has been hospitalized since last September.
The ongoing political unrest is the worst in Thailand for almost two decades, with 26 people killed and almost 1,000 injured this month.
Editor: Grahame Lucas