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Caretaker premier Yingluck Shinawatra on Friday insisted that as defence minister, she was ready to die on the democratic battlefield.

Yingluck stressed that as caretaker prime minister, she is the country’s rule keeper of both country and its democratic principles and therefore any talks with rally leader Suthep Thaugsuban must be in line with democracy.

She was responding to an offer by Suthep to have a oneonone meeting with her in an attempt to end the deadlock of the ongoing political chaos. Suthep said the meeting would be broadcast live.

However Yingluck responded yesterday that Suthep must first end the protests and said more participants should be invited to the meeting.

“I’m also the defence minister meaning I’m like a soldier who has to do his duty until the last minute. A soldier has to keep the last stronghold and die on the battlefield. I will die in the democratic battlefield,” she said.

At least 24 wounded in blast near Ratchprasong rally site

Posted by Rattana_S On February - 23 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

At least 24 people, including three children, were injured the latest bomb explosion near the Ratchprasong anti-government rally site at 5pm.

The explosion went off near Big C department store’s Ratdamri branch at 5pm.Erawan Rescue Centre that intially reported that 16 were injured increaed the number to 24.

(Reuters) – Some Thai anti-government protesters followed the advice of their leader on Saturday, shunning products of firms linked to the family of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and handing back cellphone SIM cards.

The protesters have blocked main Bangkok intersections with tents, tires and sandbags, seeking to unseat Yingluck and halt the influence of her billionaire brother, Thaksin Shinawatra, an ousted former premier regarded by many as the real power behind the government.

This week, they targeted businesses linked, or once linked, to the Shinawatra family, sending stock prices tumbling and on Saturday some answered protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban’s call to return their SIM cards belonging to mobile phone company Advanced Info Service Pcl (AIS).

The company promptly sent a text message to clients saying it no longer had any connection with the Shinawatra family.

“AIS is not involved in politics and is not a pipeline for any side,” it said. “Dr Thaksin and family have already sold all shares in the company since 23 January, 2006, and from then are no longer connected with the company.”

Aunjit Wongsampan, 65, lined up in central Bangkok to hand in her SIM card.

“I think the signal is poor and I am changing it because the company is too wealthy,” she told Reuters.

When shown the company’s text message, she said: “I don’t believe them any more. I have made my choice.”

Yingluck’s supporters denounced the targeting of business when the protests have already taken a toll on the economy, on tourism in particular, with arrivals in Bangkok sharply down.

“What we don’t like right now is their involvement in threatening companies on the stock exchange that is not involved with government,” Tida Tawornseth, chairwoman of the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD), told Reuters. “It’s a move away from government into business.”

The UDD, a protest movement largely made up of “red shirt” Thaksin supporters based in the populous north and northeast, is holding a meeting of its leaders from across the country on Sunday in Nakhon Ratchasima, northeast of the capital.

STOCK PRICES SLIDE

Generous subsidies for farmers in the north and northeast were a centerpiece of the platform that swept Yingluck to power in 2011, but they have left Thailand with vast stockpiles of rice and a bill it is struggling to fund.

About 500 anti-Thaksin protesters gathered this week outside the Bangkok offices of SC Asset Corp, a property developer controlled by the Shinawatra family, waving Thai flags and blowing whistles.

Yingluck was executive chairwoman of the company before being swept to power in a landslide election victory in 2011.

SC Asset’s share price has lost almost 10 percent since Wednesday and mobile handset distributor M-Link Asia Corp, also with links to the family, lost 12 percent.

Tida said Sunday’s rally would consolidate plans to restore democracy after the opposition boycotted and disrupted elections this month, leaving the country paralyzed under a caretaker government. She ruled out any plans for violence.

“If we wanted to clash, we would have done so a long time ago,” she said. “We wouldn’t have to wait for this long.”

Four protesters and a police officer were killed on Tuesday when police attempted to reclaim protest sites near government buildings. Six people were wounded by a grenade on Friday.

The protests are the latest installment of an eight-year political battle broadly pitting the Bangkok middle class and royalist establishment against the mostly rural supporters of Yingluck and Thaksin.

Demonstrators accuse Thaksin of nepotism and corruption and say that, prior to being toppled by the army in 2006, he used taxpayers’ money for populist subsidies such as the rice scheme and easy loans that bought him the loyalty of millions.

The former telecoms tycoon lives in self-exile to avoid a two-year prison sentence for a graft conviction he says was politically motivated.

(Writing by Nick Macfie; Editing by Robert Birsel)

Order to expel Sehgal awaits Chalerm’s nod

Posted by Rattana_S On February - 22 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

(The Nation)Immigration Commission has voted to cancel the residency permit for an Indian businessman who addressed an anti-government rally, a source at the commission has revealed.

However, Satish Sehgal has yet to be informed of a decision by the commission to deport him for his involvement with protests led by the People Democratic Reform Committee.

A source close to Satish said yesterday the businessman had not had any formal notice from the panel about the matter. The panel had earlier resolved that he had not committed any wrongdoing that would warrant deportation, the source noted.

The commission, which is under the Interior Ministry, decided by a majority vote to revoke Satish’s residency permit following a long debate among the nine panel members, a source in the commission said yesterday.

In a secret ballot, five panel members voted for revocation, while two voted against and two others abstained from voting, according to the source, who added that the commission met on Monday to discuss the matter.

By law the prime minister has the authority to endorse such a decision but the PM has delegated that power to Labour Minister Chalerm Yoobamrung, who is now in charge of the government’s Centre for Maintaining Peace and Order, according to the source.

The order to revoke Satish’s residency permit was submitted to Chalerm on Thursday and he was expected to sign to endorse it next week, the source said. However, Satish had the right to seek a court injunction to oppose the move.

Satish, 70, is a former president of the Thai-Indian Business Association, and has lived in Thailand for over five decades. He is a PDRC leader but has rarely appeared on stage at rally sites following a threat to deport him.

Satish’s legal adviser, who asked not to be named, said Satish would bring the case to court and appeal to HM the King over this matter. He would also sue the officials involved.

If Satish’s residency permit is revoked, the Immigration Bureau will ask for him to be detained for deportation from Thailand.

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