Thailand’s opposition Red Shirts end standoff, two leaders surrender

April 14th, 2009 - 1:37 pm ICT by ANI  

Abhisit Vejjajiva Bangkok (Thailand), Apr.14 (ANI): Thailand’s opposition United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD), which is also known as the `Red Shirt’, has ended its standoff outside Government House here against the government of Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva.

Two red-shirt core leaders, Veera Musikhapong and Suporn Uttawong, surrendered to police on Tuesday after they told their protesting supporters to disperse.

UDD leaders Veera and Suporn were the major support group in Thailand for convicted former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who is in exile,

The two contacted the police and asked to be picked up at the Misakawan intersection, near Government House where the red-shirts have been camping since March 26.

Their surrender was disrupted briefly as some supporters tried to stop them.

Their arrest followed their announcement that the protest had ended for now and that their followers should disperse after days of rioting in the capital. Troops dispersed the rioters in several violent clashes in Bangkok on Monday, the Bangkok Post reports.

Troops then surrounded the remaining 2,000 protesters at Government House overnight and made plans to disperse them.

Another core UDD leader, Arisman Pongruangpong, was arrested after the invasion of the Asean summit venue at Pattaya on Saturday,

Veera said UDD leaders agreed to end the rally because they were worried about the safety of the protesters.

“This does not mean that we loose,” he told the protesters, some of whom appeared to be angry with the decision.

Weng Tojirakarn, another core leader, said the UDD would continue its opposition to the government on the international stage.

The decision to disband was announced half an hour after army spokesman Colonel Sansern Kaewkamnerd. said in a nationalised television broadcast that red-shirt protesters blocked traffic at 15 locations in Bangkok early on Tuesday, but soldiers and police were able to control the situation.

“The situation at all locations has eased,” Col Sansern said, including Uruphong and Yommarat intersections and Victory Monument.

The protest was now confined to Government House where there about 2,000 protesters, he said.

He said there were two attacks on soldiers in Bangkok overnight. One soldier was seriously wounded.

Two men on a motorcycle opened fire at a military check point near Mahboonkrong shopping centre at 11.30pm on Monday, criticially wounding one soldier. He was being treated at an emergency unit at Police Hospital.

About 2.45am Tuesday a group of men in a pickup fired at soldiers at Thukchai intersection. There were no injuries.

Colonel Sansern attributed the attacks to “ill-intentioned people trying to create unrest in the country”. (ANI)

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