Standoff

By BangkokPost.com

Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej said on Saturday he will not resign just because anti-government protesters have put Government House under siege. The People's Alliance for Democracy said the siege will continue until Mr Samak resigns.

"The demand [to resign] is unreasonable," said the premier.

"We will continue camp out here [at Government House] and protest until this Thaksin puppet government is gone," said core PAD member and spokesman Suriyasai Katasila.

Mr Samak has been tight-lipped - and reportedly angry - since demonstrators made 10,000 police look like fools in breaking through their lines and surrounding Government House on Friday.

He said on Saturday he will go to work at Government House as usual on Monday, and will talk to the country about the tense dispute on his regular weekly TV show Speaking in Samak's Style at 8:30 on Sunday morning (0130 GMT).

He laughed when a reporter asked if he would allow the thousands of PAD supporters to keep up their vigil in the street at his office. "Stay tuned to my programme and find out," was all he would say.

On Saturday, Mr Samak visited four police officers injured in clashes with the PAD mob on Friday. In the afternoon he attended and spoke at a charity concert concert at the Public Relations Department.

He was accompanied by army chief Anupong Paojinda.

Gen Anupong has reportedly told Mr Samak his best way out of the confrontation with PAD is to dissolve parliament, meaning new elections.

For technical reasons, that is impossible at the moment - the House cannot be dissolved while a censure debate is pending - and demonstrators believe they have the upper hand in forcing Mr Samak to resign.

Rumours are rampant, including one that ex-premier Thaksin Shinawatre, the focus of the PAD hate, has told members of the People Power party to be ready to replace Mr Samak if he resigns.

Maj-Gen Chamlong Srimuang, another PAD core member and ideologue of the group, refused to predict how long the Government House siege would last.

The rally was peaceful, had no weapons, and was therefore legal, he said.

He also said that PAD core leaders have no plan to engage in talks with the government, but simply want all cabinet ministers to step down.