'Red shirts' parade dead, army chief calls for polls

'Red shirts' parade dead, army chief calls for polls

The reds vowed to press on with their bid to overthrow the government of Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva following weekend clashes in Bangkok which left 21 people dead and more than 800 injured.

A stream of cars, pick-up trucks and taxis filled with Red Shirts gathered at their main rally site in the historic district of Bangkok before beginning a procession through the capital with their fallen comrades.

Thailand has been in turmoil for weeks but the protesters say they will not end their campaign until the government dissolves parliament and calls fresh elections, despite the deaths of 17 civilians and four soldiers on Sunday.
“We want people in Bangkok to know what happened to the red shirts because the government and the army control the news,” said Chakkricth Kadeeluck, a 34-year-old watch seller from Chonburi, east of the capital.

The demonstrators are calling for Abhisit to step down and leave the country, saying there is no point in further negotiations with the government.
Meanwhile, Thailand’s army chief said that he supported early elections to end the political turmoil. Anupong Paojinda suggested that he was reluctant to use force to break the deadlock, saying a political solution must be found.
“We must return to politics to solve the problem. It must be ended by political means,” Anupong told reporters.

“The problem will be resolved with house dissolution, but when to dissolve depends on the outcome of negotiations,” he said.
Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva offered last month to hold elections by the end of 2010 — one year ahead of schedule — to end the stand-off, but protest leaders rejected the proposal.