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Thailand PM warns of declaring emergency

Thaksin Shinawatra has vowed to declare an emergency if anti-government protesters in the capital turned violent.

india Updated: Mar 14, 2006 16:22 IST

Thailand's Prime Minister vowed on Tuesday to declare an emergency if anti-government protesters in the capital turned violent, as tens of thousands massed near his office demanding he resign over corruption allegations.

Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra was in northeastern Thailand on a campaign stop as the protesters marched on his office at Government House in Bangkok, pledging to continue peaceful protests until he steps down.

"I am ready to sign the decree if the situation becomes violent," Thaksin told reporters before entering a Cabinet meeting via teleconference from the city of Ubon.

He said a decree declaring a state of emergency was "in his hands" but that it was not necessary to use it at the moment.

The marchers made their way from Bangkok's Grand Palace down a broad boulevard toward Government House, a couple of kilometers away, carrying placards reading "Change Through Peace" and "No Violence."

"Thaksin, Get Out!" they shouted, some of them tearing down pro-government banners near the compound.

Cabinet members meeting inside the ornate seat of government approved a 5 per cent pay hike for employees of state enterprises, some of whom have joined the anti-Thaksin drive.

"I'm one of the 19 million people who voted for the wrong person. I have to correct what I did wrong," said Ratanaporn Rattanawongsarot, a 39-year-old housewife among the marchers.

First Published: Mar 14, 2006 16:22 IST