PM invites 'all walks of life' to talks

Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra on Tuesday called for academics, businessmen, anti-government protesters and members of the public from all walks of life to take part in a "people's forum" to resolve political conflict in the country.

Despite demonstrations continuing, she said that tensions have eased considerably because police and soldiers have been asked to treat the protesters with leniency to avoid bloodshed.

The prime minister invited the private sector to be part of the people's forum to help restore the confidence of tourists and investors.

She also called on the media to report on the ongoing political conflict constructively and avoid encouraging hatred between Thai people.

Addressing all Thai people, Ms Yingluck said: "I believe that His Majesty the King's birthday will be another occasion for the Thai people to be happy and unite for him."

Deputy Prime Minister Surapong Tovichakchaikul, meanwhile said government had shown sincerity in wanting to ease tensions by allowing protesters to get inside Government House and Metropolitan Police Bureau premises.

Mr Surapong, who is in charge of the Centre for the Administration of Peace and Order (Capo), said the government would not let state officials use violence against protesters.

The government regrets that three people have died in connection with the protests and will conduct investigations and take action against those responsible, he said.

Mr Surapong, who is also foreign minister, said other countries are of the understanding that the protests are taking place because of issues with the present constitution, all parties in Thailand must come together to get the problem solved.

On People's Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) leader Suthep Thaugsuban's demand for the establishment of a people's assembly, Mr Surapong said the government would like to see his proposal in detail.

"With detailed information on it from Mr Suthep, I would consult academics and university lecturers to assess the possibility of putting the proposal in practice. If possible, the government would conduct a public referendum to gauge public opinion on it," Mr Surapong said.

He called for Mr Suthep to surrender to the authorities since a warrant is out for his arrest.

Asked whether the House of Representatives would be dissolved in a few days, Mr Surapong said this was unlikely because there was no reason for government to do so.

Related search: Yingluck Shinawatra, Surapong Tovichakchaikul, Capo, unrest, protests, Thailand, Bangkok, Suthep Thaugsuban

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