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Page last updated at 14:05 GMT, Thursday, 28 August 2008 15:05 UK

Thais speak out on protests

Protesters have been occupying government buildings in Bangkok demanding that the government resign. Here, protesters and other Bangkok residents give their view on the situation.

UMNUAY SAE-HAU, ECONOMIST, 65, BANGKOK

Umnuay Sae-hau at the demonstration in Bangkok
Umnuay Sae-hau has spent the day at the protest
I am not a very political person but I have been attending the protests by the PAD [People's Alliance for Democracy]. I support the rally because I have no faith in the government. I do not trust it - there are many questions outstanding about its honesty.

We want a cleaner government. They cannot just get elected and forget about the electorate. A government has to be accountable.

We want an appointed government to take charge for an interim period because there are a lot of court cases that need to be sort out. We are all open to any government that is honest - appointed or otherwise.

The atmosphere at the protest is very friendly. It is like having a party. These people are not interested in causing trouble. In fact, I admire the leaders of the protest who are effectively sacrificing themselves for the sake of the country.

The kind of democracy we are working towards is something new. It is a phenomenon.

We want an accountable government. We want a government subject to scrutiny. Not a government that thinks it can do anything it wants.

VANISA SURAPIPITH, ENVIRONMENTAL OFFICER, 35

Vanisa
I went to the protests after thinking a lot about it. My parents heard about it and heard why the PAD were protesting and they shocked me by saying they would come down from northern Thailand and take part in the protest.

I joined them too. I saw that the people there came from many different backgrounds.

There were a lot of issues that were talked about, such as how the government works, the influence of our former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, and also about the conflict with Cambodia on the Khmer ruins.

I'm really afraid that somehow Thaksin will come back to power. We're worried about his influence over the government.

TEERASANG YOOBHO, WRITER AND TRANSLATOR, 23, BANGKOK

Teerasang
I don't agree with all of the protesters' demands. I went to the protest to listen to what they have to say.

I agree with the criticism of Thaksin. He always said that he would retire from politics and I worry that he still has too much influence over the current government.

I think the protesters are wrong in taking Government House. They claim to be demonstrating within the law - it doesn't seem like that.

I believe the prime minister should resign. But I don't think the demonstrators should go about it this way.

APILAS KRAISITTITONG, STUDENT, BANGKOK, 19

I don't agree with the protesters because they have no clear reason for this movement. In the past, when they went to the streets, there were clear reasons, but now there are not.


Thailand is on a precipice. The government should try to talk rather than use any kind of violence


We all know that this current government are great supporters of the former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra. But it is time that the protesters became a real political movement. I think many in Bangkok and Thailand would agree with me.

A lot of my fellow students don't agree with the PAD either. They worry how it might affect the country. Thailand is on a precipice.

The government should try to talk rather than use any kind of violence against the protesters. I believe the majority of Thais do not support the protesters, and the government could just wait it out.

CHARN PATIMAPORNCHAI, GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEE, 59

CHARN PATIMAPORNCHA
I have been taking part in protests, since the popular protests of 14 October 1973 against the military government which changed the history of Thai politics.

I have also taken part in these protests., but when they moved to Government House, I did not go.

I don't believe the government can do anything it wants. But I don't want any more coups. I just want to see the present prime minister resign. But if we have new elections, we will get the same people in parliament because they dispense money so widely among the rural poor - and they get many votes like that.

So I don't think that elections can solve our problems. I don't even trust other political parties at the moment.

What I want to see is a new constitution written - one which involves the people at every stage.

PITAWAS , FINANCE MANAGER, 41
Pitawas
Demonstrations have been going on for months. This is a long process and I feel it is coming to a climax. A lot of Thai people do not trust the actions of this prime minister. We believe he is a nominee of Thaksin Shinawatra. Most of the government are from Thaksin's camp.

We are protesting for the resignation of the prime minister, because we cannot stand this government any more. There are all kinds of allegations against them. This is not a fit and proper government.

I would like to see a government appointed by the court or the king take over for the time being, and then we can review the situation after all the lawsuits have been resolved. The last election was very hasty. The interim government did not reform the system enough.

This is an ideological protest. The government gave the middle classes free bus tickets and all kinds of concessions - but they cannot buy off the people. Those of us against the government are not all right-wing royalists. We are just seriously disillusioned. The famous Thai patience has run out.


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