Clashes between rivals looming
By The Nation

The prospect of a confrontation between anti-government protesters and government supporters loomed large even after the landmark court ruling on Tuesday against former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra.

Leaders of the People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD) yesterday held a meeting at the Baan Phra-arthit, the headquarters of the Manager Media Group, to outline their next move.

Lt-General Chamlong Srimuang said the PAD would continue to occupy Government House until it achieved its objective of ousting the People Power Party-led government and blocked a rewrite of the Constitution.

"We'll continue to fight for 'new politics'," said Chamlong.

Pol General Salang Bunnag, who has retired from police service, has vowed to take on the PAD protesters at Government House.

He repeated his earlier threat that he would lead a group of government supporters to quash the protesters.

Salang said he would seal off Government House to starve off the protesters, who would be denied supplies of food and water for three days.

He said friendly foreign countries have agreed to supply him with the weapons, which would be used in the operation that would not create any loss of lives.

He declined to name the foreign countries or the details of his operation to reclaim Government House from the protesters.

Salang called on the military to take disciplinary action against officers, such as General Pathomphong Kesornsuk and ADM Phrachun Tampratheep, who have sided with the protesters in demonstrating against the government.

"If the military were to stage a coup, we would have our people calling upon the wives or children of the military officers taking part in the coup and urging them to tell their husbands to stop doing so. Military coup in the past brought about corruption," he said.

At the same time, Chamlong said the protesters would remove the stage and equipment from Makkhawan Rangsan Bridge because, after today, the royal funeral ceremonies would begin for Princess Galyani Vadhana and royal family members would be travelling on that route.

Asked how the PAD could achieve new politics if it tries to block constitutional amendment, Chamlong said new politics would not happen if the Somchai government refuses to step down.

He said the bloody suppression of the protesters on October 7 showed that the government has done a lot of ill deeds against the people.

Somkiat Pongpaiboon, another leader of the PAD, said new politics cannot be realised through reforming the election process alone or by changing the Constitution. He said the police, poverty reduction, government corruption, vote buying must be tackled and these problems can't be resolved by the government alone.