Political tension was mounting in central Bangkok on Sunday as the anti-government People's Alliance or Democracy (PAD) planned a mass rally in an what they call another "D-Day" action to block the government's efforts to amend the constitution, in confrontation with supporters of ex-premier Thaksin Shinawatra.
Both sides were rallying people with the PAD supporters increased to about 40,000 by late afternoon at the Government House complex, which the PAD has occupied since Aug. 26.
While at the Temple Suan Kaew in Pathum Thani province on the suburbs of Bangkok, about 25,000 supporters of Thaksin, most wearing red shirts, joined the mobile "Truth Today" forum.
A phone-in by Thaksin was originally scheduled to air at the event on Sunday but later canceled.
The PAD vowed to organize a mass march to the Parliament on Monday to besiege a planned Senate-House joint session aimed at amending the constitution.
Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat, who was attending a summit meeting of Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation in Lima, Peru, said he had appointed Army Chief General Anupong Paochinda to be responsible for monitoring the PAD's activities to avoid violent confrontation, after two bombings in the last few days at the Government House caused two deaths and dozens of injuries.
The PAD said it opposed the government's attempts to amend the Constitution 2007, drafted after a military coup ousted Thaksin on eptember 19, 2006, as they were aimed at paving the way for Thaksin and his allies, who were banned from politics in line with he new charter for five years, to return to power.
Somchai then softened stance by saying that Monday's joint session will not discuss the constitution amendment.
Observers fear that violent confrontation could occur on Monday as security is expected to be tightened around the Parliament.
More than 1,000 policemen, as well as fire engines, have been dispatched to the Parliament compound, and ladders have been prepared for MPs and senators to escape the building in case of emergency.
Government spokesman Nattawut Saikua has said that the panel for monitoring the national situation had resolved that the parliament session will start as scheduled at 9.30 a.m. (0230 GMT)on Monday despite calls for its postponement.
The spokeman said if the situation is not normal during the meeting, House speaker Chai Chidchob will decide whether the session would be adjourned. He affirmed that the meeting will not cover constitutional amendments.