May 18 - Thailand anti-government protesters vow a final push for an alternative prime minister. Rough cut (no reporter narration)
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ROUGH CUT - NO REPORTER NARRATION
Thai anti-government protesters vowed to continue fighting on Sunday (May 18) after protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban promised a final push for an alternative prime minister.
The protesters are planning to stage mass rallies in coming days and Suthep said if this final push in the six-month fight did not succeed, he would surrender to the authorities on May 27.
Some protesters said they would fight on even if they lose their leader.
Thailand has been in turmoil since the protests flared up in November, the latest phase in nearly a decade of antagonism between the Bangkok-based establishment and supporters of former premier Thaksin Shinawatra, who won huge support among the rural and urban poor but was ousted by the army in 2006.
Thaksin's sister, Yingluck Shinawatra, was forced to step down as prime minister on May 7 when the country's Constitutional Court found her and nine ministers guilty of abuse of power.
Remaining cabinet members selected Commerce Minister Niwatthamrong Boonsongphaisan to replace her, but the anti-government protesters led by Suthep said they had no authority to do that and want all the ministers replaced.
Suthep told Saturday's (May 17) meeting - held in Government House, where the prime minister normally works but which he has commandeered - that mass rallies would start on Monday (May 19).
Ahead of that, he would meet with state company officials and sympathetic retired civil servants on Sunday to draw up plans for a new administration and then he wanted to meet serving top civil servants on Thursday (May 22).
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