Anti-junta demonstrators rally in Bangkok amid tight security

By Xinhua

Bangkok : Some 10,000 people gathered Friday night at Sanam Luang (Royal Field square) in central Bangkok to demonstrate against the rule of the military Council for National Security (CNS) and voice support for ousted prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, under tight monitoring by security authorities.

Support TwoCircles

    The demonstrators, organized by the Democratic Alliance Against Dictatorship formed by some 20 anti-coup or pro-Thaksin groups, started the rally after 4 p.m. (0900 GMT) Friday at Sanam Luang, a traditional demonstration venue, with only some 1,000 participants initially. The number increased as the demonstration continued into the evening, and by 8 p.m. (1300 GMT) there were about a crowd of some 10,000 people at the approved rally venue, which takes up over half of Sanam Luang.

    Earlier reports said over 13,000 troops would be deployed around the capital to control any possible disturbance. Police have cordoned off the rally venue and closed traffic at nearby routes towards Sanam Luang after 8 p.m. (1300 GMT).

    Thaksin, who has been in a self-imposed exile overseas since the CNS led a military coup on Sept. 19 last year to depose him, is scheduled to deliver a live speech at about 9 p.m. (1400 GMT) to the demonstrators via teleconference from London.

    Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont has said the government is ready to declare a state of emergency in the capital if the rally runs out of control.