Thailand's Thaksin seeks king's intervention

Thu Apr 16, 2009 10:36am EDT
 
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By Thomas Atkins and Luke Pachymuthu

DUBAI (Reuters) - Former Thailand prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra Thursday "humbly" urged the country's king to intervene to resolve its political rift, and called on his supporters to act peacefully.

The self-exiled Thaksin, ousted in a coup in 2006, told Reuters he lacked the resources to finance a comeback, although he would return to Thailand if "the country and the people really need me ... I want to be part of the solution."

Thailand has been wracked by political violence in recent days, with "red shirt" supporters of Thaksin disrupting and forcing the cancellation of a major Asian summit over the weekend in the resort town of Pattaya.

Government forces and "red shirts" then squared off in the capital Bangkok, and there were also fights reported between residents and protesters.

At least two people were killed and more than 100 were injured in violent confrontations. Thaksin says 60 died.

"The instigation comes from the police," he said.

UNDERLYING RIFT

Faced with overwhelming government force Tuesday, the pro-Thaksin forces backed down, but the underlying rift between urban, elite and middle class elements of Thai society who oppose Thaksin and his rural backers remains.   Continued...