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PostTHAILAND: Unrest (John Eipper, USA, 03/29/06 8:07 am)
ISN reports: Thousands of protesters are in Bangkok's main shopping district today for a three-day rally against Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra. The protesters have held on and off protests since late last year, and daily protests in front of Thaksin's home since 14 March. Thaksin has come under fire recently for allegations of corruption. In January, the prime minister's family sold its stake of close to 50 per cent of Shin Corp. to Temasek Holdings. The deal earned Thaksin's family US$1.9 billion, tax-free. Critics claim the sale involved insider trading. He has also been criticized for his policies on education reform and for selling shares in state companies. According to news reports, the People's Alliance for Democracy, one of the groups who organized the event, said that more than 50,000 protesters are expected.
Bloomberg news service says the group also wants the public to boycott the upcoming elections. Thaksin dissolved parliament last month in preparation for the snap vote on 2 April.THe prime minister hopes the vote will quell criticism, but the three main opposition parties are refusing to participate in the elections. The BBC says that support for the protesters may be waning, in part because of the chaos the rallies have caused. Police have asked residents not to drive into town but take public transport instead. One poll show support for the removal of Thaksin at 26 per cent on Monday, which is down from almost 50 per cent three weeks ago.
Plan to attend the WAIS conference on "Critical World Issues " at Stanford July 31-August 1, 2006. It will be a rare opportunity to meet other WAISers. Tell interested friends.
Ronald Hilton, Editor, 2006