Thai PM calls for talks, protest leader defiant

Updated: 2013-12-03 03:45


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Thai PM calls for talks, protest leader defiant

Anti-government protesters take cover from tear gas as they attack Government House during demonstrations in Bangkok December 2, 2013. [Photo/Agencies]


Suthep has set a Tuesday deadline for her to step aside and his movement has called for civil servants to go on strike.

"Government workers are still tools of the Thaksin regime," said Akanat Promphan, a spokesman for the protest group.

Yingluck said government offices were open as normal and many ministries appeared to be functioning. The Commerce Ministry released inflation data as planned. Protesters still occupy the Finance Minister and a government agency complex.

Thaksin was convicted in absentia of graft in 2008 but he dismissed the charges as politically motivated. He is widely seen as the power behind Yingluck's government, sometimes holding meetings with the cabinet by webcam.

He is idolised by the urban and rural poor but reviled by the royalist establishment and urban middle class who accuse him of undermining the monarchy, which he denies.

The protests have been joined by the opposition Democrat Party, which was trounced by Yingluck's Puea Thai party in a 2011 election. It has lost every election for the past 13 years to Thaksin or his allies.

The baht picked up slightly after Yingluck's comments and the stock market, which had been down more than 1 percent, ended up 0.2 percent. The baht has fallen 3 percent since early November and the benchmark stock index has lost 5.8 percent in the past month.