Democrats won't join talks to end impasse

BANGKOK POST REPORTERS

The Democrat party refused to take part in four-party talks to end the political deadlock yesterday in a decision designed to put pressure on Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat to resign.

The prime minister, Democrat leader Abhisit Vejjajiva, House Speaker Chai Chidchob and Senate Speaker Prasopsuk Boondej already met twice, with the latest meeting on Monday , during which time they pledged to reform politics.

But the party said Mr Somchai had lost the legitimacy to hold office and should call it quits after failing to end the political turmoil and allegedly waging a disinformation campaign about the violence on Tuesday.

The Democrats yesterday held a meeting of a monitoring committee on the parliament violence at its headquarters, which was attended by Mr Abhisit and party chief adviser Chuan Leekpai.

It said in a statement that Mr Somchai, metropolitan police assigned to riot control and the state-owned media should be blamed for the distorted information on violent clashes between People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD) supporters and riot control police which claimed two lives and left hundreds injured.

Most importantly, the government gave false information to Thai embassies and consuls overseas, saying only 68 were injured and nobody died.

Mr Abhisit signed a letter and submitted it to the National Human Rights Committee to call for fact-finding about Tuesday's violence.

The Campaign Committee for Human Rights urged the government to give help and compensation to both wounded PAD supporters and police officers.

Family Network manager Wanchai Boonpracha said 40 organisations and networks for children and family welfare today will urge people to wear black, tie black ribbons and turn on their headlights to condemn the government's reaction.