Thai minister thanks protest leader

Bangkok, March 1: Thai Foreign Minister Surapong Tovichakchaikul Saturday thanked Suthep Thaugsuban, the leader of the anti-government protests, for deciding to abandon rally sites here and said he would never triumph over the government.

The move follows increasingly frequent gunfire and grenade attacks targeting the protest sites in the capital and nearby areas.

Violence linked to the rallies has left more than 20 people dead and hundreds injured since November 2013.

The People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) secretary general Suthep announced Friday night that all the rally stages would be abandoned and blocked roads cleared, and all activities would be moved to the Lumpini Park in Bangkok next week, the Bangkok Post reported.

Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra has been under intense pressure to resign following four months of protests.

Surapong said the move would allow businesses to resume normal operations.

“Suthep always changed the conditions and he still couldn’t defeat the government. If he continues fighting, he would do more harm to himself,” said Surapong.

The PDRC’s decision to end the shutdown campaign was likely due to the declining number of protestors joining its rallies, he said.

Surapong said the government would see if the emergency decree should be revoked in Bangkok. The enforcement of the decree will end March 22.

IANS