[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Languages
Last Updated: Monday, 27 February 2006, 04:17 GMT
Thai protesters vow to continue
Sondhi Limthongkul addressing the crowds in Bangkok
Sondhi Limthongkul is one of the premier's fiercest critics
Tens of thousands of anti-government protesters in Thailand are vowing to continue demonstrations on Monday against their prime minister.

The campaigners, many of whom attended a huge rally on Sunday night, say they will keep up the protests until Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra steps down.

Mr Thaksin has refused to quit despite repeated rallies calling for him to go.

On Friday he called snap elections, although opposition parties are said to be considering a boycott.

Chanting

The anti-Thaksin movement has gripped the Thai capital Bangkok. The latest demonstration, on Sunday, was the third rally in less than a month.

Several thousands demonstrators camped out overnight in Sanam Luang field, where the rally drew tens of thousands of people.

"Our Monday protest will have more people joining from the provinces," said Sondhi Limthongkul, the premier's fiercest public critic and a key figure of the protests.

He told the crowd still there on Monday morning: "I will never abandon you."

The crowd chanted "Thaksin Get Out!" after a statement was read aloud from the People's Alliance for Democracy, saying protests would "continue until Prime Minister Thaksin is out".

The alliance, an ad-hoc coalition of activist, labour and student groups, has led protests in recent weeks, accusing the prime minister of corruption.

In the face of this growing opposition, Mr Thaksin dissolved parliament on Friday, forcing national elections three years early.

He said the elections would give power back to the people, and he clearly expects to win again because of his Thai Rak Thai party's popularity among rural voters.

The three main opposition parties have spoken of boycotting the April elections.

In another protest, at least 2,000 poor farmer gathered at Government House for a pre-dawn rally, prompting police to seal the gates of Thaksin's administrative headquarters.

A short time later the farmers marched on the state-run Bank of Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives.

Bank staff told AFP news agency they had closed the bank as the farmers gathered peacefully outside.

The farmers have made clear that they are not protesting against Mr Thaksin but have not announced any demands, according to witnesses.




SEE ALSO:
Analysis: Thai PM's huge gamble
25 Feb 06 |  Asia-Pacific
Thai leader considers referendum
11 Feb 06 |  Asia-Pacific
Minister quits over Thaksin deal
03 Feb 06 |  Asia-Pacific
Thai PM defends mobile firm sale
01 Feb 06 |  Asia-Pacific
Thai PM sells mobile firm stake
23 Jan 06 |  Business
Thai violence hits phone networks
19 Jan 06 |  Asia-Pacific
Thailand's Thaksin down but not out
16 Jan 06 |  Asia-Pacific
Country profile: Thailand
19 Jan 06 |  Country profiles


RELATED INTERNET LINKS:
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


PRODUCTS AND SERVICES

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific