Friday, June 14, 2024

Thai police fire tear gas to disperse protesters


Share post:


Bangkok: Police in Bangkok fired tear gas to disperse swarms of anti-government protesters who began gathering Saturday for a rally that was expected to be the biggest since Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra took office last year.

Yingluck had ordered more than 15,000 police into the streets and invoked a special security law this week ahead of the rally, which was expected to draw tens of thousands of protesters.

The prime minister accused the demonstrators of seeking to overthrow the government and warned of possible violence. The demonstration was being organized by a royalist group calling itself “Pitak Siam” — or “Protect Thailand.” It serves as a sharp reminder of the deep political divisions that have split the country since the army toppled Yingluck’s brother Thaksin Shinawatra in a 2006 military coup.

The focal point of Saturday’s rally was Bangkok’s Royal Plaza, a public space near Parliament that has been used by protesters in the past.

Police were allowing protesters into the site, and two roads leading to it were open. But in an effort to control access, security forces erected concrete barriers on another road leading to Royal Plaza. When between 50 to 100 protesters tried to break through one of the barriers, a contingent of around 500 police fired tear gas and beat them back with batons.

While Pitak Siam is a newcomer to Thailand’s protest scene, it is linked to the well-known “Yellow Shirt” protesters, whose rallies led to Thaksin’s overthrow. The same movement later toppled a Thaksin-allied elected government after occupying and shutting down Bangkok’s two airports for a week in 2008. Thaksin remains a divisive figure in Thai politics.

The Yellow Shirts and their allies say he is personally corrupt and accuse him of seeking to undermine the popular constitutional monarch charges Thaksin denies. Yingluck was taking Saturday’s rally seriously. Her Cabinet invoked the Internal Security Act on Thursday in three Bangkok districts around the protest site, and she later addressed the nation to explain the move, citing concerns of violence.

In a nationally televised address Thursday, Yingluck said protest leaders “seek to overthrow an elected government and democratic rule … and there is evidence that violence may be used to achieve those ends.” (AP)


Related articles

Decline of quality education in Shillong

Editor, Over-commercialization of the education sector cultivates a degenerating competitive environment, where organizations prioritize revenue-generating programs over educational value...

Merit and Modi 3.0

With the full contingent of ministers being assembled for the Modi-3 show marking a third consecutive term for...

Parliament not a place for lone wolves

By Patricia Mukhim This news in Firstpost, one of the leading news portals on June 7 last wrote this...

Quota policy review draws more opposition

TURA, June 13: In the wake of various organisations and clans from the Garo Hills opposing tooth and...