Members of the "White Shirt" movement hold a candlelight vigil to demand democratic elections and political reforms in Bangkok, Thailand, Friday, Jan. 24, 2014.(AP Photo/Wally Santana)
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While thousands of protesters occupied major intersections around Thailand's capital to demand that the government scrap upcoming elections and step down, dozens of people donned white T-shirts and lit candles at a small park to call for peace and compromise to end the bitter and sometimes violent political conflict.The "White Shirt" movement is intended to give voice to Thais who are neither anti-government protesters nor pro-government "Red Shirt" activists, who have vowed to hit the streets themselves if Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra is overthrown.Some White Shirt events have drawn hundreds of people, but both sides in the political battle have chipped away at the message. For eight years, Thailand's stability has been shaken by a sometimes-violent struggle for power between supporters and opponents of former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, accused of corruption and deposed by a military coup in 2006 .The protesters are led by Suthep Thaugsuban, a former high-ranking opposition-party official who wants Yingluck's government to make way for an unelected council of "good people" to institute reforms to fight corruption.The vigils were originally organized by peace activist Kittichai Ngamchaiphisit and his friends, in hopes of getting people allied with neither party to speak out.
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