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12 theSun | MONDAY DECEMBER 15 2008

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Thai opposition
Democrats favoured
to win PM vote Greece braces for
second week of protests
BANGKOK: Thailand’s parliament votes for a new prime
minister today, with the opposition Democrats favourites
to emerge at the head of a weak coalition government as
the economy flirts with recession. Another small political
party pledged on Sunday to back Democrat leader Abhisit
Vejjajiva, who has made reviving the export and tourism-
dependent economy his top priority.
Pradit Pataraprasit, secretary-general of Ruam Jai Thai ATHENS: Greece on Sunday hostilities followed largely silent in Thessaloniki on Saturday
Chart Pattana said the party’s nine MPs would support Ab- braced for a second week ceremonies marking the moment afternoon, while later some 300
hisit in the vote scheduled for 9.30am (10.30 in Malaysia). of protests over the death of a Grigoropoulos was killed. gathered silently around the
Parliament is choosing a new prime minister because teenager by a police bullet, as Greece has been gripped over city’s emblematic White Tower
Somchai Wongsawat, brother-in-law of ousted leader Thak- demonstrators staged fresh the past eight days by a deep-rooted monument.
sin Shinawatra, was sacked by the courts after his People violence moments after vigils were protest movement which has Police have identified five
Power Party (PPP) was found guilty of fraud in the December held for the schoolboy victim. succeeded in uniting mainstream banks attacked with gas canisters
2007 election that brought it to power. Around 100 hooded youths and radical youth and that the in Athens overnight on Friday.
A day after the ruling, the anti-Thaksin People’s Alliance firebombed a station next to opposition socialists are seizing A local party office of the ruling
for Democracy (PAD) ended a blockade of Bangkok’s main Athens’ Exarchia district late upon to press for fresh elections. conservative party was also
airports that had caused chaos for hundreds of thousands Making Saturday, where 15-year-old Alexis The lull during peaceful rallies targeted. The deeply held anger
of travellers. sens: Grigoropoulos died from a police led by several hundred mourners which has emerged within the
After months of political strife and a global slowdown, the Unique bullet a week ago. holding lit candles and posting lower end of the 15-24 age group
economy was expected to shrink 0.5-1.0 percent in the first At about the same time, messages on a wall by the spot – a quarter of whom nationally
quarter of 2009 from a year earlier and post no growth in the challenges similar numbers in Thessaloniki, where the boy fell, had followed remain unemployed – could fester
second quarter, putting it on the brink of recession, Acting in 2009 Greece’s second city, vandalised overnight attacks on banks and for months, if past Greek unrest is
Finance Minister Suchart Thada-Thamrongvech said. pg15 a gymnasium before holing up more tense stand-offs with police. taken as a guide.
Thousands of pro-Thaksin “red shirts” are expected to behind university walls. About 200 Some 2,000 demonstrators Greek Prime Minister Costas
gather at parliament today to support their candidate for youths stationed themselves before – mainly Polytechnic students – had Karamanlis has meanwhile
prime minister, former national police chief Pracha Prom- parliament in Athens late Saturday earlier on Saturday squared up to dismissed opposition calls to quit
nok. as security forces ringed them and police outside the Greek parliament saying: “At this time the country
They will be watched by some 800 police guarding then chased them away. on the eighth day of their dogged faces a serious financial crisis... a
the compound where protests by the yellow-shirted PAD A police source said challenge. They brandished a large steady hand on the helm is needed
triggered street clashes with police in October. Thaksin, demonstrators hurled Molotov banner which read: “06/12/08, to deal with it.
who lives in exile after his ouster in a 2006 coup, called for cocktails and set off fires at three Alexis Grigoropoulos, I won’t The offices of lawyer
national reconciliation on Saturday and urged the military banks near the Athens Polytechnic forget.” Alexis Kougias, representing
not to meddle in the parliamentary vote. from where self-styled anarchist Student pamphlets also two policemen charged
“May all sides take one step back and respect the re- leaders say they are planning a announced rallies planned in front over Grigoropoulos’s death,
sults,” Thaksin said in 20-minute recorded address shown sustained campaign. of the Athens police headquarters have already been trashed,
on video screens to 40,000 supporters at a Bangkok sports An office of the environment on Monday and back at parliament while elsewhere in Europe,
stadium. ministry and public property square on Thursday, when school demonstrators have blocked traffic
“Please don’t use any institution to intervene. Just let the were also targeted, with bins set pupils and teachers are expected on the Champs-Elysees in Paris
country move forward. Don’t make people suffer more,” he ablaze across the area, police to support the protests. About 2,000 with hundreds marching in Berlin
said. – Reuters added. The fresh outbreak of youths also marched peacefully to show solidarity. – AFP