Grenade explosions that wounded two soldiers at a Thai military base raised tensions in Bangkok on Monday as tens of thousands of anti-government protesters massed at another barracks on the outskirts of the city.
It was unclear who was behind the attack or whether it was directly linked to the protests by red-shirted supporters of ousted premier Thaksin Shinawatra. But it came shortly after Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva rebuffed demands by protesters to dissolve parliament and call fresh elections by midday, Reuters informs.
According to a report in The New York Times, banks, shops and government offices in the northern outskirts of the city closed for the day as convoys of red-shirted protesters converged on a military base that has become a sort of field headquarters for government leaders, including Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva.
The protesters on Sunday had demanded that the government dissolve Parliament and call elections by noon Monday, a deadline that was rejected by Mr. Abhisit.
By early afternoon, Thai media reported that Mr. Abhisit had left the heavily guarded military compound. Leaders of the protest then urged their followers to retreat to a district of government offices where protesters have set up camp.
Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva on Monday rejected an ultimatum by tens of thousands of protesters to dissolve parliament or face further demonstrations.
"The protesters have demanded that I dissolve the house before midday (0500 GMT) on Monday, but the coalition parties agree the demand cannot be met," Abhisit said on national television, from a barracks where he moved for the rally.
"Elections must be held under common rules and genuine calm. We have to listen to other people's voices, not just the protesters," he said, Times of India informs.
The continued irresolution of the W.Sahara conflict: The right to self-determination vs. Realpolitik by Dr. Sidi Omar, Frente Polisario representative at the UN