Thailand's army commander has urged the government of
Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat to step aside and call a new election to
resolve the country's political crisis.
Speaking Wednesday after a
meeting of military, government and business leaders, General Anupong Paojinda
denied he was staging a coup. He also ordered anti-government protesters to
leave Bangkok's international airport and to end their campaign against the
The prime minister's office and protest leaders quickly
rejected the suggestions.
People's Alliance for Democracy leaders say
they will not leave the Suvarnabhumi international airport until Mr. Somchai
Tensions between the two sides continue to escalate. Police
say a gang of government supporters in the northern city of Chiang Mai shot dead
an anti-government activist on Wednesday.
The incident occurred just
before Mr. Somchai arrived at an airport in the northern city.
Somchai was originally expected to return to Thailand's international airport
from an overseas trip, but flew to Chiang Mai instead.
took over the international airport on Tuesday after months of demonstrations,
stranding thousands of travelers.
Thailand's current crisis began over
two years ago when former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra was ousted in a
Elections late last year failed to resolve the situation
when former allies of Mr. Thaksin were voted into office.
accuse Mr. Somchai of being a proxy for his brother-in-law, Mr.
Protests in Thailand intensified on Monday when opposition
supporters forced parliament to delay a session by blocking access to the
On Tuesday, anti-government protesters chased down government
supporters on a major highway in the capital, Bangkok. At least 11 people were
wounded during the street fight, some with gunshot wounds.
Some information for this report was provided by
AFP, AP and Reuters.