August 29, 2008 / 1:48 AM / 11 years ago

Thai protest siege moves into fourth day

BANGKOK, Aug 29 (Reuters) - A protest siege of Thailand’s centre of government moved into its fourth day on Friday, with its leaders showing few signs of heeding a court order or appeals from the police to leave.

Although the demonstrators and authorities have reached a stalemate around the occupied Government House compound, pressure is growing on the seven-month-old administration with rail workers expected to widen a strike started on Thursday.

As many as 80 train drivers and mechanics at a key junction connecting Bangkok to the north and northeast called collective sick leave in support of the protests, disrupting at least five trains and stranding thousands of passengers.

Thursday night at Government House passed largely without incident, with police reluctant to try to execute arrest warrants on the nine leaders of the People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD) for fear of sparking bloodshed.

The PAD, whose 2005 protests against then-prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra contributed to his removal in a coup a year later, have vowed to remain inside the Government House compound until the current elected administration falls.

They say it is an illegitimate proxy for Thaksin. (Writing by Ed Cropley; Editing by David Fogarty)

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