Saturday, January 31, 2015   

Protesters march to Thai leader's compound
(05-12 19:10)

Emboldened by the removal of Thailand's prime minister, anti-government protesters withdrew from the city's main park Monday and marched to the vacated prime minister's office compound -- where the protest leader has pledged to set up his new office.
Meanwhile, the country's new caretaker leader hosted his first formal news conference with foreign media at a makeshift, suburban outpost that has been the government base for months. He shrugged off the protesters' plans to occupy the symbolic seat of power, AP reports.
"We do not want violence or any problems,'' said acting Prime Minister Niwattumrong Boonsongpaisan, defending the government's hands-off approach as good crisis management. In a 40-minute news conference, he reiterated calls for a July election and said he and his Cabinet were committed to finding a peaceful solution to the country's deepening political crisis.
Monday's developments highlighted the government's lack of power as Thailand's political crisis grinds into its seventh month. One newspaper compared the political situation to a sinking ship that it called the "Thaitanic.''
Protesters achieved one of their goals last week when the Constitutional Court dismissed Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra for nepotism in a case that many viewed as politically motivated.
But they say her removal is not enough. They want to set up an unelected "people's council'' to implement still-undefined reforms to combat corruption and money politics before an election can be held. They oppose elections scheduled for July, which the current ruling party would likely win.   
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