demanded Sunday that the coup leaders who ousted Thai Prime Minister
Thaksin Shinawatra resign, and called for immediate elections.
The demands, delivered in a letter to military headquarters, came a
day after several thousand protesters, mostly Thaksin supporters,
gathered at Sanam Luang, a park near Bangkok's Grand Palace.
Daily rallies by Thaksin supporters have increased the risk of
confrontation between them and the military leaders who overthrew him
in September for alleged corruption and abuse of power.
"We want the Council for National Security (the coup leaders'
official name) members to resign and hold an election immediately,"
said Weng Tojirakan, one of the nine rally leaders who submitted the
A low-ranking official received the document through the army headquarters' chained front gate.There was no immediate response from the military-backed government,
although coup leader Gen. Sonthi Boonyaratglin said last week he will
not resign because he has done nothing wrong.
The protest leaders also demanded that elections take place
according to the 1997 Constitution that the coup leaders abolished
after the takeover in September. A new constitution is being drafted
ahead of the elections set for December.
The demands are the latest effort by pro-Thaksin forces to increase
pressure on coup leaders — putting Bangkok on edge as the capital
swirls with rumors of more military crackdowns and coup attempts.
On Friday night, thousands of protesters gathered at Sanam Luang to
witness Thaksin berating the coup leaders in a recorded video message
from London, where he has been living in exile since the coup.
Thaksin denounced the government's decision to freeze his and his
family's bank accounts, with more than 52 billion baht (US$1.6 billion;
€1.2 billion), over suspicion that the money may have been obtained by
Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont responded Saturday, saying he was ready to talk with Thaksin.
In his message, Thaksin decried restrictions on politics and civil
liberties imposed since the coup and called for the restoration of
Last month, a court ordered Thaksin's Thai Rak Thai party dissolved
for election law violations and barred its entire leadership of 111
people, including Thaksin, from public office for five years.
The recent anti-government protests, though slowly growing in size
and enthusiasm, have so far failed to have a significant impact on