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Warrants issued for protest leaders

Article published on the 2008-08-27 Latest update 2008-08-27 10:18 TU

PAD leader Chamlong Srimuang at Government House.(Photo: Reuters)

PAD leader Chamlong Srimuang at Government House.
(Photo: Reuters)

A Thai court on Wednesday issued arrest warrants for five leaders of the anti-government protests that has brought chaos to the streets of Bangkok. The demonstrators are trying to force Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej to step down.

Warrants for nine people, five of them protest leaders, have been issued.

“They face four charges – the most severe is treason,” a court official told French news agency AFP.

As many as 35,000 demonstrators descended into the streets on Tuesday, forcing their way through police barricades into the Government House compound, the state television station, as well as certain other key buildings.

The protests were called by the People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD), a group that has been protesting against Samak’s administration since May, saying that it is only a proxy for former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who was ousted in a military coup in 2006.

But, according to a poll released Wednesday, the majority of Bangkok residents don’t back the PAD’s tactics; 68 per cent say they don’t support the Government House occupation, 73 per cent oppose roadblocks around the capital and 70 per cent said they thought the raid of the television station was wrong.

However, only 35 per cent want to see Samak stay in office.

Only 4.5 per cent said they wanted to see another military coup, like the one that forced Thaksin from office.