Thai PM vows to stay on

Sundaravej defies protesters camped outside government office in Bankgok.

    The 25,000-strong protest rallies of Friday were mostly peaceful [AFP]

    The comments came after a newspaper report said the country's army
    chief had urged Samak to dissolve parliament in order to stop the protests.

    PAD accuse Samak of acting as a proxy for Thaksin Shinawatra, the deposed prime minister.

    Samak said he expected to return to work at his office and pledged to answer his critics during his weekly television address on Sunday.

    "Wait and listen to me tomorrow," he said on Saturday during a visit to a police hospital.

    Bangkok tense

    Samak spent the morning visiting four police officers said to have sustained injuries when protesters pushed past a barricade on Friday to reach Government House.

    Bangkok, the Thai capital, remained tense on Saturday as the protests entered a second day.

    "We still reiterate our demand that the whole cabinet quit," Chamlong Srimuang, a PAD leader, said.

    Police said 25,000 protesters had been present at rallies on Friday, but by Saturday afternoon the number had dwindled to 5,000.

    More protesters were expected to arrive for evening demonstrations.

    The pro-royalist PAD have blocked a road near Government House for nearly four weeks.

    Stability fears

    There are rising fears about Thailand's stability as Samak's rule comes under attack both from the public and in parliament just four months after forming a government.

    Samak won elections in December 2007 after more than a year of military rule.

    The military had seized power in 2006 by overthrowing sident Thaksin in the wake of anti-government protests

    The Thai stock market which has dropped 15 per cent since the protests began.

    Both Thaksin and Samak were elected on strong support from Thailand's rural heartland.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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