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Competing Protesters March In Thailand

From Reuters:

Thai police shoot tear gas into anti-government protesters in Bangkok, Thailand, Friday, Aug. 29, 2008. Thai police muscled into crowds of anti-government protesters occupying the prime minister’s office compound Friday to deliver a court order demanding they leave, sparking scuffles that left several people with minor injuries.

Thai PM’s allies hit street as debate begins

By Vithoon Amorn Sun Aug 31

BANGKOK (Reuters) – More than 1,000 government supporters marched on Thailand’s parliament on Sunday as lawmakers began a special debate on street protests threatening to topple Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej.

The group avoided areas of Bangkok where anti-government protesters are massed, including thousands who have occupied Samak’s official compound since Tuesday and are vowing to stay until the prime minister quits.

Samak, who has said he would never bow to the demands of the People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD), warned in his weekly radio address that his patience was wearing out.

“I am not afraid, but I am concerned about chaos in the nation,” he said. “We cannot let the seizure of Government House continue indefinitely without taking action.”

Samak gave no details of his meeting on Saturday with revered King Bhumibol Adulyadej, who holds enormous sway in Thailand and has intervened in past political disputes that threatened the country’s stability.

The PAD, a motley group of businessmen, academics and activists whose campaign against former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra led to his overthrow in a 2006 coup, accuses Samak of being an illegitimate proxy of Thaksin…

Once again a popular government — and one that had been elected in a landslide — is about to be brought down by orchestrated mobs in the street.

And, just like before, it is simply because they are fighting Muslim terrorists — even during the holy month of Ramadan.

From the Al Arabiya News:

No letup for Muslim rebels in Ramadan: Manila

August 31, 2008

Philippine troops will continue offensives against Muslim rebels in the south but commanders will make “tactical adjustments” in deference to the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, an official said Sunday.

“Our operations against them are continuing even through the Ramadan,” army spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Ernesto Torres said over Manila radio. “There is no instruction for us to stop our offensive against the groups of Bravo and Kato. We cannot delay enforcement of laws.”

Soldiers have in the past week taken over more than a dozen camps controlled by Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) leaders Umbra Kato and Abdurahman Macapaar, also known as Commander Bravo, on the southern island of Mindanao.

The two led deadly raids against mostly Christian towns on Mindanao in early August, triggering heavy reprisals from government forces. The fighting has claimed the lives of more than 100 rebels and more than 40 soldiers and civilians and forced more than 280,000 to flee their homes.

Torres said the rebel leaders’ forces had splintered into smaller groups on the run in the hinterland. The two men were said to be wounded and running low on ammunition amid the unrelenting offensive, which has put on hold any prospect of resuming peace talks with the separatists in the immediate term.

Kato and Bravo are hard-line senior MILF members. They launched their attacks after the Supreme Court on August 4 blocked a deal that would have given the MILF control over an expanded Muslim autonomous area.

Torres said ground commanders had been ordered to make some “tactical adjustments” including assisting Muslims in evacuation camps who want to go to mosques and places of worship.

The MILF has been waging a bloody rebellion since 1978 for an independent Islamic state on Mindanao. It signed a ceasefire with government in 2003, paving for talks that are now in peril amid the escalation of violence.

Funny how little we hear about this theater in the war on terrorism.

This article was posted by Steve on Sunday, August 31st, 2008. Comments are currently closed.

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