BANGKOK, Thailand — Thailand's prime minister vowed Saturday that he would not resign even as pressure mounted with antigovernment protesters occupying his headquarters for a fifth day Saturday and disrupting rail and air service.
Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej also called an emergency session of parliament today so that both houses can debate the crisis and try to resolve it through political means, said Surachai Phuprasert, a top aide to Samak.
"I, the prime minister, have come to office in the righteous way, and I won't resign," Samak said during a televised ceremony for the royal family. "I will not back down. I will rule this country, and will lead it through all of the problems."
Thousands of protesters remained camped out at the prime minister's official compound, known as Government House, in Bangkok where leaders called for 1-million people to join their ranks to demand an end to Samak's seven-month tenure.
The crowd size has ranged from 2,000 to about 30,000, with numbers reaching around 10,000 Saturday.
"The protest has already developed into a people's revolution," protest leader Sondhi Limthongkul told the Associated Press. "I do believe that Samak is going to resign."
Saying that Western-style democracy has allowed corruption to flourish, the protest group wants a new government with a parliament in which most of the lawmakers are appointed and only 30 percent elected.
Late Saturday, Samak received key backing from his six-party coalition, which said it would not dissolve parliament. Instead, leaders said they would use today's emergency session of parliament to "solve the country's problems."