Battle to oust Thai leader continues in Thai capital

Protesters seeking the resignation of Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra set out on a strategy Wednesday of protesting every day at a different high-profile spot in the Thai capital until the leader steps down.

Hundreds of anti-Thaksin campaigners demonstrated at the Election Commission, demanding Thaksin be disqualified as a candidate from upcoming snap polls after the opposition alleged that the ruling party committed electoral fraud.

"I want Thaksin to step down so that the country will be at peace," said Ornsiri Otarawanna, a 47-year-old executive, waving a flag at the rally bearing the motto of anti-government campaigners: "Thaksin, Get Out!"

Bangkok's politically aware middle class have been holding large and boisterous demonstrations for more than a month accusing Thaksin of corruption and abuse of power.

An April 2 general election called by Thaksin to reaffirm his mandate seems unlikely to resolve the political crisis.

The prime minister was re-elected to a second term in office a year ago by a landslide victory, with his Thai Rak Thai, Thai Love Thai, Party taking 377 of the 500 parliamentary seats.

But while his support among the rural majority remains strong, the three opposition parties in parliament are boycotting the polls, which could leave some districts with no winning candidate, and thus block the next parliament from convening.

Protesters said they plan to rally Thursday at the Finance Ministry and the nearby government Public Relations Department, and called another large rally for Saturday, near Thaksin's office where protesters demanding his resignation have camped out for over a week. They say they will stay on the streets until Thaksin is ousted.

On Tuesday, protesters targeted Bangkok's business district. Thousands of demonstrators, cheered on by office workers, marched along Silom Road, causing banks and shops to temporarily close and paralyzing traffic.

Protesters have vowed to demonstrate against every business that supports Thaksin until he is ousted.

On Tuesday evening, protest organizers issued Thaksin an ultimatum, giving him 48 hours to resign or face "more serious pressure." Suriyasai Katasila, an anti-Thaksin spokesman, said that new tactics would be unveiled Thursday evening if Thaksin failed to comply, reports the AP.

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