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Thai PM’s car attacked by protesters

Two developments here in Thailand today:

First, Thai PM Abhisit Vejjajiva’s car was attacked by ant-government red-shirt protesters in Pattaya this afternoon. It was the first violence targeted at Abhisit since he came to power in December. Reuters has the story.

And second, tension is mounting ahead of a massive red-shirt rally planned here in Bangkok tomorrow. Abhisit has vowed to prevent a “civil war.” The AP has this story.

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Misc.

WSJ: Thaksin “ups ante,” calling for “people’s revolution”

Today’s WSJ has this story: “Thaksin Ups Ante In Thai Struggle

BANGKOK — Thailand’s fugitive former leader, Thaksin Shinawatra, has picked a fight from which he may find it hard to back down — and which economists say could hinder this Southeast Asian economy’s efforts to recover from the global slump.

Mr. Thaksin on Friday rejected the Thai government’s offer of talks to resolve political conflicts. He told his supporters — who are barricading the main government complex in Bangkok — to prepare for a “people’s revolution” in defense of democracy.

“Negotiation is out of the question. We are talking about the nation’s future now,” Mr. Thaksin told cheering supporters in a live video link from an undisclosed location overseas. He urged people to turn out for a mass show of support in Bangkok on April 8.

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Thai government offers talks with Thaksin

Reuters: “Thai govt seeks talks with Thaksin to end protest

BANGKOK, April 1 (Reuters) – Thailand’s government offered on Wednesday to negotiate with exiled Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra to end a week-long street campaign threatening its efforts to stave off an economic recession.

The offer was swiftly rejected by a leader of the pro-Thaksin group that has surrounded Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva’s offices in Bangkok to force him out, the latest escalation in Thailand’s three-year-old political crisis.

“Our objective is to remove them. Why would we talk to them?” said Jatuporn Prompan, a leader of the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD), an extra-parliamentary group that accuses Abhisit of being a pawn of the military.

Police have taken no action against the thousands of red-shirted protesters despite a court order on Tuesday that they allow ministers to enter Government House.

Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban said the government wanted to avoid violence and he offered talks with Thaksin, who has exhorted his supporters to “bring back democracy” in nightly video speeches from an undisclosed location.

“If talks can bring peace to the country, I am ready to meet him anywhere, because Thaksin is the only person that can end the siege,” said Suthep, who is in charge while Abhisit attends the G20 Summit in London.

There’s also a story from the BBC and one from the FT. And here’s one from VOA about politics and the Thai economy.

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Abhisit at Davos: Thaksin should return to Thailand

Hong Kong blogger Thomas Crampton ((You’ll recall that he also recently interviewed Curtis Winston about the Thai film industry.)) interviewed Thai prime minister Abhisit Vejjajiva at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland last weekend. Embedded below is the brief video interview. Crampton also has the full transcript on his site.

In the interview, Abhisit says exiled PM Thaksin Shinawatra should return to Thailand to face the charges against him.

“[Thaksin] still has influence,” says Abhisit. “He still has supporters, but the Thai government must prove that our country will enforce the law in a non-discriminatory way. I can assure him that he will get a fair treatment. It is our clear policy and every intention to do just that.”

(Crampton also interviewed Thaksin himself back in November.)

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Misc.

“Thaksin to receive award from Bolivian president”

Today’s Bangkok Post has this strange story: Thaksin to receive award from Bolivian President

Bolivia’s President Evo Morales was considering giving Thailand’s deposed prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra the Order of Simon Bolivar after he aided Thai people in the grass-root level, improved their living conditions, and settled the International Monetary Fund (IMF) loan.

Mr Thaksin was scheduled to receive the award at Plaza Murillo in Bolivia’s La Paz.

In addition, President Morales was expected to approach former premier Thaksin to become his advisor to overcome the economic problems in Bolivia.

The award was named after Simon Bolivar, a historical figure who freed many South American countries from Spanish rule.

I was going to bold certain sections that seemed especially odd. But then I’d just be highlighting the entire article…