Former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra has given an emotional address by phone to tens of thousands of supporters at a rally in Bangkok.
The rally was aimed at demonstrating the continuing popularity of Mr Thaksin, who has been living in exile since August after a court verdict.
He was convicted in absentia of breaking conflict of interest rules.
Supporters of Thaksin Shinawatra supporters shout slogans during a rally at Bangkok’s Rajamanangala Stadium. The former Thai premier denounced his opponents in a telephone address to 90,000 loyal supporters that were packed into a sports stadium.(AFP/Pornchai Kittiwongsakul)
Mr Thaksin accused his opponents of destroying democracy in order to keep him out of power.
Saturday’s rally was a well organised show of strength by the Thaksin camp, reminiscent of the slick campaigns that helped the former prime minister win three successive elections, the BBC’s Jonathan Head reports from the rally.
The aim, said the organisers, was to demonstrate popular support for the Thaksin-inspired government, at a time when it is under pressure to step down from the People’s Alliance for Democracy protest movement, which has been occupying the prime minister’s office since August.
‘Miss you all’
Dressed in a sea of red shirts, to distinguish them from their yellow-shirted opponents, many had travelled long distances to the rally from the north and north-east, where the government has its strongest following, but there were many from Bangkok as well.
Read the rest and see the video: