Police, Protesters clash briefly in Thailand
BANGKOK, Thailand (AP) — Nearly 2,000 Thai police faced off against thousands of demonstrators demanding the prime minister's resignation at his office compound Wednesday. The government sought arrest warrants for at least eight protest leaders.
Leaders of the People's Alliance for Democracy were unfazed by the heavy police presence and by scuffles overnight between security forces and protesters at Government House, and said the protest movement would continue even if they are arrested.
"We are ready to spend time in jail," said Chamlong Srimuang, one of the leaders, told a crowd assembled inside the compound in the capital Bangkok. "The (alliance) will continue to protest until our demands are met. This government has to resign."
Alliance protesters, who accuse Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej of corruption and of being a proxy for his disgraced predecessor, have camped in a huge garden outside the Government House offices since scaling fences there Tuesday afternoon.
About 500 helmeted riot police forced their way into the compound overnight, briefly clashing with protesters. Police later backed off from the confrontation, establishing themselves inside the compound and mingling with protesters.
The rally at Government House has been otherwise peaceful and the protesters have not tried to enter any government buildings.
The alliance has accused Samak of being too close to former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who was ousted in a 2006 coup and faces several pending corruption cases. Thaksin is in self-exile in Britain.
"If we leave before this government resigns, that means we are defeated," Chamlong said.
The alliance, which is loosely aligned with conservative factions of the monarchy and the military, said the protests and the seizure Tuesday of a state-run television station by a mob of their masked security enforcers were a "final showdown" in efforts to oust the government.
The takeover of the...