Protesters march on Thai police national headquarters

Photo: Protesters march on Thai police national headquarters / Other Countries

Hundreds of anti-government protesters marched on Thailand's national police headquarters Wednesday, demanding their support and an investigation into the death of a demonstrator, dpa reported.

About 2,000 protesters were led by opposition politician Tavorn Senniem to the Royal Thai Police Office in the centre of the capital where they were met by policewomen offering food packets.

Tavorn was invited into the compound for talks with National Police Chief General Adul Saengsingkeow.

"We have received their requests and told them that our priority is the preservation of peace and security," Adul said afterwards.

Tavorn gave the police seven days to investigate the case of a 21-year-old university student who was killed Saturday night in a clash between anti- and pro-government groups.

"We want to know how he died," Tavorn said. He did not say what the protesters would do if the deadline was not met.

Four people have died in politically-related violence since the weekend, and 256 were injured, according to the Public Health Ministry.

Clashes with police ended Tuesday when the demonstrators were allowed to enter the compound of the Metropolitan Police Bureau, which had been heavily defended on Sunday and Monday.

Protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban described Tuesday's apparent truce as a "partial victory," but vowed to continue his crusade to rid the political system of the influence of fugitive former premier Thaksin Shinawatra, the elder brother of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra.

Suthep said the protests will continue after events on Thursday to celebrate the 86th birthday of the revered King Bhumibol Adulyadej.

Political observers believe the government is hoping that the protests will fade out.

Suthep resigned his seat in parliament for the opposition Democrat Party to lead the protests. A warrant was issued on Monday for his arrest on charges of insurrection.

The current crisis started on November 1, when the ruling coalition attempted to pass an amnesty bill through parliament that would have pardoned Thaksin and others involved in thousands of politically related cases during 2004-13.

The amnesty bill was later rejected by the Senate.

Thaksin has been living abroad since 2008 to avoid a two-year jail sentence for abuse of power. He was prime minister between 2001 to 2006, before being ousted by a coup.

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