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Thai PM calls for end to protests after surviving confidence vote

Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra has used a televised address to plead with anti-goverment protesters who want her ouster. Earlier, she easily survived a no-confidence vote lodged by the opposition.

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Thai PM survives no-confidence vote

In her speech on Thursday, Yingluck Shinawatra called on the protesters to cease their protests to avoid damaging Thailand's economy further.

"Please call off the protests for the country's peace," she said. "I'm begging you ... because this doesn't make the situation any better."

Her words seem so far to have remained without great effect on the demonstrators, who have now rallied outside national police headquarters in the capital, Bangkok, where they cut power lines to the compound. They have previously taken over or surrounded several ministry buildings.

The protesters accuse Yingluck of being a mere marionette of her brother, Thaksin Shinawatra, who was deposed in a military coup in 2006 for alleged corruption and abuse of power.

The demonstrations are the biggest in Thailand since pro-Thaksin demonstrations in 2010 that ended in violence and a military crackdown that left more than 90 people dead.

Police spokesman Piya Uthayo said a total of about 15,000 protesters had gathered Thursday at some six locations in and around Bangkok. This is down from at least 100,000 on Sunday.

Easy victory

Yingluck's plea came after she easily defeated a no-confidence vote brought by her opponents in parliament on Thursday. She received 297 votes of support, with 134 members of parliament voting against her.

Her Pheu Thai party holds around 60 per cent of seats in parliament, so her victory was widely expected.

The drive for a no-confidence vote was led by the leader of the opposition Democrat party, Abhisit Vejjajiva, who accuses Yingluck of permitting corruption to run rampant since winning an election in July 2011 to become the counrtry's first female prime minister.

The protests at her rule come as Thailand's economy, Southeast Asia's second biggest, begins to falter. Factory output shrank for a seventh straight month in October, falling by more than most economists had expected.

tj/dr (AP, Reuters)

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