Thai anti-government protesters began mobilising in Bangkok Sunday, a day ahead of their planned “shutdown” of the capital as they step up efforts to topple the government and halt upcoming elections. The politically-turbulent country has been shaken by weeks of opposition rallies against Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and her divisive former premier brother Thaksin, which have caused the government to call snap February 2 polls.
Demonstrators, who have vowed to disrupt the vote, began packing possessions and equipment at their main Bangkok rally site as they prepared to fan out to seven locations across the city Monday in an attempt to choke off transport into the capital. “We hope everything will change in a good way tomorrow. The change we want to see is for this government to stop being corrupt or they should resign,” said Komol, a protester at the site who gave only one name.
The protesters want an appointed “people’s council” to run the country and oversee vaguely defined electoral reforms before new elections are held in around a year to 18 months. It is the latest chapter in a saga of political instability and occasional unrest that has gripped Thailand since Thaksin was ousted from power by royalist generals seven years ago. The billionaire tycoon-turned-politician, who lives abroad to avoid a jail term for corruption, has large electoral support particularly in his northern Thai heartlands where he is adored for a swathe of popular policies implemented by his and subsequent allied governments.
But he is detested among the country’s elites and by many in the Bangkok middle class and Thai south, who see him as authoritarian and accuse him of buying votes. Protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban, a former MP for the opposition Democrat party that is boycotting the elections, has said he expects a large turnout for the latest demonstration. “There will be huge numbers of people from every province joining the shutdown Bangkok mission on Monday 13,” he told a rally late Saturday.
The demonstrators say they will block major intersections, stop officials going to work and cut off power to key state offices. Schools will close because of fears for students’ safety, while the US embassy has advised stockpiling a two weeks’ supply of food, water and medicine. The authorities say they are ready to declare a state of emergency if there is fresh unrest, and roughly 20,000 police and soldiers will be deployed for security.
- Home Minister Rajnath Singh Assures Safety Of All Tourists Stranded On Havelock Island
- Government To Waive Service Tax On Debit, Credit Card Transactions Of Up To Rs 2,000
- President Pranab Mukherjee Criticises Parliament Disruptions Over Demonetisation
- Pakistan International Airlines Flight Carrying Over 40 Passenger On Board Crashes
- Shah Rukh Khan On Raees Clash With Kaabil: It’s Impossible To Have A Solo Release In India
- US-President Elect Donald Trump Named TIME’s Person Of The Year 2016
- O. Panneerselvam: 10 Things You Need To Know
- PM Narendra Modi Slams Opposition For Not Letting Parliament Function
- Nawazuddin Siddiqui On Working In Raees: Was Nervous To Shoot With Shah Rukh Khan
- Bathinda Dancer Murder: Video Showing Accused Opening Fire At Marriage
- 5 Lesser Known Facts About Sasikala Natarajan
- Congress Leader Shashi Tharoor’s Delhi Home Burgled: Here’s What Happened
- Reserve Bank Of India Keeps Repo Rate Unchanged Post Demonetisation
- Bigg Boss 10 Dec 06 Review: Swami Om Pees In Kitchen
- Lenovo k6 Power Video Review