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News Asia-Pacific Thai PM rejects red shirts' offer
Abhisit Vejjajiva, the Thai prime minister, has rejected an offer of compromise with so-called red shirt protesters who have rallied for the dissolution of government for the past six weeks.
The decision on Saturday came after the anti-government demonstrators said that they would end the standoff which has brought parts of
Abhisit said that he could not accept the offer because the red shirts "use violence and intimidation".
"The 30-day ultimatum is not an issue. The dissolution [of parliament] must be done for the benefit of the entire country, not just for the red shirts, and it must be done at the right time," he said.
In response, Nattawut Saikua, a leading red shirt, said that they would not continue talks with the govenrment.
"These negotiations will stop. We will not talk anymore," he said.
The red shirts' offer had been eased from an earlier demand that snap polls be held.
At least 26 people have died and hundreds have been injured during the weeks of protests.
There have been clashes between police and protesters and on Thursday five grenades were thrown in
The red shirts denied that they were behind the grenade attacks.
Many of the red shirts support Thaksin Shinawatra, the former prime minister ousted in a 2006 coup, and the group have been occupying
Abhisit's government has so far refused to disperse them as it risks heavy casualties and the prospect of clashes spilling into high-end residential areas.
Increasing anger has been felt among government supporters and also
The red shirts, formally known as the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship, want the prime minister to step down, dissolve parliament and call new elections.
But Abhisit has rejected claims that his government is illegitimate and has refused to give up his post.
The central bank said on Wednesday that the political crisis was affecting confidence, tourism, private consumption and investment, although exports, which are crucial to economic growth, have been little affected by the unrest.