Thailand PM switches venue for speech
The siege outside Thailand Parliament continues and it has delayed Parliament business as MPs and senators refused to walk through a narrow gap in lines of thousands of anti-government United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD) protesters. The Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva has finally begun delivering his maiden policy speech after changing the venue.
Despite repeated efforts by hundreds of police officers armed with shields to push open the gates and create a path for lawmakers to enter the building, the red-shirted crowd calling for new elections refused to budge.
They are loyal to Thaksin Shinawatra, the premier ousted in a 2006 coup, and say Abhisit's government is not legitimate as he came to power after the Thaksin-linked former ruling party was dissolved by a court early this month.
"The government intended to deliver a policy statement but this was prevented by protesters," said Satit Wonghnongtaey, a minister attached to the Prime Minister's Office.
"So the government has decided to move the venue to the foreign ministry, which parliament has confirmed is legal. We have already informed coalition partners and the meeting will start as soon as we have a quorum."
The policy speech was due to take place Monday morning in Bangkok's parliament building, but was postponed throughout the day as negotiations with protesters continued, before finally being pushed back to Tuesday.