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No End To Thai Crisis Despite Emergency

There seems to be no end to the political crisis facing Thailand, with the Government House remaining under siege by the protesters, who continued to demand Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej's resignation.

This was despite the prime minister proclaiming a state of Emergency in Bangkok Tuesday to quell a week-long street rebellion against his rule.

The Emergency decree was issued following overnight clashes between protesters of the People's Alliance for Democracy, and activists of the pro-Government Democratic Alliance.

One person was killed and four others were reported injured in the clashes, described as the worst violence in Bangkok in over 15 years.

No curfew was imposed, though Army Chief Anupong Paochinda, who was named Chairman of the Emergency Committee, promised peaceful means to restore order. In a bid to avoid a violent confrontation, he ordered the troops to carry basic anti-riot gear of shields and batons but no weapons.

Samak has repeatedly said he would not oblige the protestors. He convened an emergency session of the two Houses of Parliament Sunday to defuse the crisis, but the opposition insisted he step down on grounds of his alleged misrule and links to the deposed leader Thaksin Shinawatra.

Nationwide Strike By State Enterprises Fails To Take Off

Meanwhile, Thailand's 43 state enterprise unions failed to stage a nationwide strike Wednesday to show solidarity with protestors who have besieged Government House for the past week.

Representatives of the state enterprises and 200,000 state employees threatened Monday a nationwide strike starting 9 am Wednesday that would cripple basic utility services such as electricity and water to selected government targets and close down the port in Bangkok.

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