ibnlive » World

Apr 14, 2009 at 02:09am IST

Thailand army vows to restore peace

New Delhi: For the sixth consecutive day, Thailand’s anti-government protestors – Red shirts – are on the rampage in the streets of Bangkok. Life has come to a standstill in Thailand's capital and the PM is running out of the options to restore peace in the country.

With an emergency declared on Sunday, an overnight operation by the army and police began to flush out the city. Tanks and water cannons rolled and the army opened fire injuring scores.

The Red shirts are goaded on by their exiled leader, former prime minister Thaksin Shinwat.

ANTI-GOVT PROTEST: A protestor waves a national flag in front of a torched bus during a protest in Bangkok.

After hours of mayhem on Bangkok streets, Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva relented.

"If anyone wants to protest they are allowed to do so in a peaceful manner," says the Thai PM.

But the appeal fell on deaf ears because the Red shirts went ahead blocking roads, hijacking tankers, setting buses on fire and later they dispersed only to gather at government house.

The army keeping its patience sent out a clear warning to the protestors.

"We are aware that everyone is Thai, we respect their rights. We will use our weapons only to defend ourselves," says army spokesperson Col Sansern Kaewkamnerd.

Prime Minister Vejajiva wants four days to restore calm in the country but it' is not clear how he intends to go about it.

This ongoing protest has damaged Thailand’s image across the world capitals. Advisories against travelling to Thailand are being issued and for the tourists already in the country they have been warned not to wear red in the streets of Bangkok.