(Edited from AP) Protest leaders said they agreed in principle Tuesday with a government-proposed compromise to end Thailand’s deadly political crisis, but refused to leave their camp in Bangkok’s streets until details can be worked out.

Pressure on both sides to end the 8-week-old stalemate has grown in recent days, with the government fending off calls for a crackdown on the paralyzing protest and the anti-government “Red Shirts” attempting to recover from a public relations debacle caused by their raid of a hospital.

 

(Edited from AP) Protest leaders said they agreed in principle Tuesday with a government-proposed compromise to end Thailand’s deadly political crisis, but refused to leave their camp in Bangkok’s streets until details can be worked out.

Pressure on both sides to end the 8-week-old stalemate has grown in recent days, with the government fending off calls for a crackdown on the paralyzing protest and the anti-government “Red Shirts” attempting to recover from a public relations debacle caused by their raid of a hospital.

 

Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva had previously demanded that the protesters leave the streets before a compromise could be reached. But with damage to the economy and political stability growing, Abhisit went on nationwide television Monday night to present his plan for rescuing Thailand from the political morass. Abhisit said his five-point plan takes into account the protesters’ main grievances. It includes respect for the monarchy, reforms to resolve economic injustice, free but responsible media to be overseen by an independent watchdog agency, independent investigations of violent incidents connected with the protests, and amendment of the constitution to be fairer to all political parties.

 

Veera Musikapong, a Red Shirt leader, said after meeting with colleagues Tuesday that they “unanimously welcomed the reconciliation process” but did not commit themselves to abandoning their street demonstration.

 

The Red Shirt demonstrators – consisting of supporters of Thaksin and others who believe the coup was a blow to democracy – accuse Abhisit of taking power illegitimately through back-room deals and military pressure on legislators. The protesters have camped in Bangkok’s streets since mid-March. Clashes with soldiers and other violence have cost 27 lives and left almost 1,000 people hurt.

 

The Red Shirts’ response to Abhisit’s plan “is a positive sign,” said Viengrat Nethipo, a political scientist at Bangkok’s Chulalongkorn University.

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