Thai PM Defiant in Face of Protests

Thai PM Defiant in Face of Protests

TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Tens of thousands of anti-government protesters marched through Bangkok in an effort to topple the Thai government and put an end to what they say is the continued influence of the deposed former prime minister, Thaksin Shinawatra.

With helmeted riot police watching on Monday, about 30,000 demonstrators chanted "Get out!" as they spread their protest to government offices, military bases and state television channels.

But Yingluck Shinawatra, the country's current prime minister and sister of Thaksin, refused to step aside, Al Jazeera reported.

"I have no intention to resign or dissolve the House," she told reporters. "The cabinet can still function, even though we are facing some difficulties. All sides have shown their political aims; now they must turn to face each other and talk in order to find a peaceful way out for the country."

Demonstrations were triggered last month by a since-shelved government plan to grant amnesty to Thaksin, in self-imposed exile since 2008, and pardon those responsible for a 2010 military crackdown on pro-government "Red Shirt" supporters that left more than 90 people dead.

The opposing group, who stand against the government, are known as the "Yellow Shirts."

Though the bill has been dropped for the time being, the protests have escalated into an all-out call for government change and the toppling of Yingluck, who faces a no-confidence debate on Tuesday.

"This week is precarious. The options are very limited for the government," said Thitinan Pongsudhirak, a political analyst at Bangkok's Chulalongkorn University.

Protesters marched to 12 buildings, including the Royal Thai Army headquarters, to urge civil servants to join their campaign.

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