Friday, 29 November 2013

Thailand PM Yingluck Shinawatra rules out early election

She told the BBC the situation in Thailand was not calm enough for polls.

She also said she would not authorise the use of force against protesters occupying government ministries.

She was speaking after demonstrators forced their way into the army headquarters in Bangkok and held a demonstration there.

Ms Yingluck has been prime minister since 2011, when her Pheu Thai party won a general election.

PM Yingluck Shinawatra: "We need to protect democracy"
In an interview with the BBC's Jonathan Head on Friday, she said that if she called a new election, she was not sure the protesters would be satisfied.

"I love this country. I devote myself to this country. I need only one thing for the country: we need to protect democracy," she said.

She said the situation in Thailand was "very sensitive" and repeated her call for negotiations to resolve the crisis.

On Thursday, Ms Yingluck called for an end to the demonstrations after surviving a no-confidence vote.

However protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban has rejected her appeal.

"We will not let them work anymore," the former senior opposition lawmaker said in a speech late on Thursday.

Anti-government protesters with Thai national flags sit at the Royal Thai Army compound in Bangkok, Thailand, 29 November 2013
Protesters went inside the army HQ compound, sitting on the lawn
Anti-government protesters give roses, through razor wire, to the security personnel guarding the Defence Ministry as protesters gather outside it in Bangkok on 28 November 2013
In the last week protesters have marched on different government buildings
An anti-government protester sleeps among others sitting on the road outside the national police headquarters where they are protesting in Bangkok on 28 November 2013
On Thursday, they protested at the national police headquarters, shutting it down
Anti-government protesters gather in front of the Democracy Monument during a rally in Bangkok, Thailand, 29 November 2013
The government has asked the protesters to hold talks - but has been rejected
On Friday at least 1,000 protesters forced their way into the army headquarters compound, but did not enter any buildings.

The BBC's Jonah Fisher, who was at the scene, said protesters were massed on a lawn listening to speeches from leaders on a stage they had erected.

They urged the army to come out in support of the demonstrators. "We want to know which side the army stands on," Reuters news agency quoted one protester as saying.

Our correspondent described the atmosphere as good natured and said the authorities appeared keen to avoid confrontation. The protesters later left peacefully.

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