Thai govt, Red Shirts to meet

BANGKOK: A Thai government minister is to meet a representative of the “Red Shirt” protesters holding mass anti-government rallies in Bangkok, a senator said today.

Satit Wonghnongtaey, the minister attached to the prime minister’s office, and Weng Tojirakarn, considered a second-tier leader of the protest movement, will meet at midday on Monday,

Senator Lertrat Ratanavanich told AFP.

The protesters, who back former premier Thaksin Shinawatra, had previously refused the government’s offer of talks unless current Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva agreed to their demand to call snap elections.

“Satit and Weng Tojirakarn from the Red Shirt protesters agreed to meet on Monday noon,” Lertrat said, declining to disclose the venue. “The first meeting will be to set up a framework of talks,” he said.

The Red Shirts, who are mainly from the poor and rural north and northeast of Thailand, have not yet commented on the meeting but it was also confirmed by a government spokesman.

Their so-far peaceful anti-government rally drew more than 100,000 when it began last weekend.