Thai protest leader vows to 'keep fighting'

Thai protest leader vows to 'keep fighting'

BANGKOK - Thailand's opposition demonstrators vowed Tuesday to keep up their campaign to topple the government, despite the imposition of martial law by the military to quell political violence.

"We will still keep fighting -- we have not won at all," protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban said in a speech to supporters.

"The announcement of martial law has no effect and is in no way an obstacle to our fight," added the firebrand former opposition MP, who is wanted by police on a charge of insurrection.

Nearly seven months of opposition rallies have failed to unseat the government, although the cabinet has been weakened by the recent dismissal of Yingluck Shinawatra as prime minister in a controversial court ruling.

The demonstrators want to rid Thailand of the influence of Yingluck's brother Thaksin Shinawatra, a tycoon-turned-politician who was ousted as premier in a 2006 coup and is both loved and loathed in the kingdom.

They are calling on the upper house of parliament, the Senate, to invoke a vaguely worded clause in the constitution to remove caretaker Prime Minister Niwattumrong Boonsongpaisan and appoint a new leader.

"We will achieve victory when we completely demolish the Thaksin regime," Suthep said.

The army declared martial law on Tuesday in an unexpected dawn announcement, following months of political violence that has left 28 people dead and hundreds wounded.

The legislation allows the army to ban public gatherings, restrict people's movements, conduct searches, impose curfews and detain suspects for up to seven days.

The army has not ordered an end to the opposition protests although it says the demonstrations must be peaceful and confined to the main rally sites.


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