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After truce to honour the King, political battle set to resume today

Confrontation between the government of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and protesters led by veteran politician Suthep Thaugsuban appeared set to resume today, as support for both sides was being mobilised yesterday.

After a truce reached in respect of His Majesty the King for the royal birthday yesterday, both sides were preparing for a resumption of their confrontation.

More protesters from the provinces, particularly from the South, will travel to Bangkok today to take part in the street demonstrations, according to some protest supporters. Also, red-shirt supporters will hold a pro-government rally in Ayutthaya next week, according to a red-shirt leader.

The government's Centre for the Administration of Peace and Order (CAPO) convened yesterday afternoon to assess the situation and prepare for coping with renewed demonstrations, Interior Minister Charupong Ruangsuwan said.

Deputy Prime Minister Surapong Tovichakchaikul, who is now in charge of the CAPO, called the meeting, which was also attended by Charupong, Deputy Prime Minister Pracha Promnog, Defence Ministry permanent secretary General Nipat Thonglek, and national police chief Pol General Adul Sangsingkaew.

Nipat said before the meeting that the situation remained fluid as the protesters planned to continue with their street rallies. "We have to prepare for the new moves," he said.

In Phuket, local protest leader Amnuay Kumban said that while a parallel rally would be resumed in the island province, a "considerably large number" of new protesters would be joining the anti-government demonstration in Bangkok. He said that from today, volunteers would be asked to sign up for the Bangkok protest.

More protesters are also expected to arrive from other southern provinces, such as Nakhon Si Thammarat and Songkhla, according to local leaders and sympathisers. They will mainly travel by train and bus to the capital.

In Songkhla, security guards have been trained to provide safety for the protesters in Bangkok, according to Chalee Noppawong, director of a local radio station who has raised funds for protesters from the province. He said that from today, new protesters would begin travelling to Bangkok, mostly by bus.

Meanwhile, red shirts planned a mass rally in Ayutthaya next Tuesday to defend the government and Parliament, Pheu Thai MP and red-shirt leader Weng Tojirakarn said yesterday.

He said the red shirts would express their stand that they would fight to the end to defend the government and Parliament from being toppled by Suthep.

Weng said he expected that tens of thousands of red shirts would join the demonstration after their leaders decided not to rally in Bangkok to avoid confrontation with the anti-government side.

He said Suthep was following in the footsteps of Sondhi Limthongkul, a former leader of the yellow-shirt People's Alliance for Democracy. Weng warned Suthep against attempting to seize Suvarnabhumi Airport as Sondhi did when he led protesters to demonstrate against the People Power government.

Weng said Suthep was running out of moves for his political game and he should not resort to an airport seizure as part of his plan to beat the government, which he would announce today.

Weng added that Suthep could not cite the events of October 14, 1973, to invoke Article 7 of the Constitution to seek a royally granted prime minister. Weng said the situation was different because in 1973, the dictatorial government declared a self-coup before seeking a royally appointed PM.


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