Anti-Government Protests Turn Violent In Thailand, Protesters Clash With Police

 @AmruthaGayathri
on November 24 2012 6:50 AM
Bangkok protests
Tear gas is thrown as police scuffle with anti-government protesters near the government house in Bangkok REUTERS

The Thai police Saturday used teargas against thousands of protesters in Bangkok who clashed with the security forces demanding to overthrow Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra's government.

More than 10,000 protesters were estimated to have joined the demonstration organized by the anti-government, royalist group Pitak Siam, led by retired military general Boonlert Kaewprasit, against the government led by Yingluck Shinawatra, the sister of the deposed former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, news agencies reported.

The protesters accused Yingluck’s government of corruption and being a puppet in the hands of the prime minister’s ousted brother.

Thaksin Shinawatra was ousted in a 2006 bloodless military coup and fled the country in 2008 shortly before being found guilty of abuse of power.

The military junta drafted a new constitution and held general elections, marking the beginning of the transition back to the civilian rule by the end of 2007.

Though the demonstration was not banned, the police created barricades blocking the entry to sites adjacent to government buildings, according to the BBC.

Anti-riot police wearing protective gear fired teargas at the protesters who tried to climb over concrete and barbed wire barriers to reach the main rally site in Bangkok's Royal Plaza, near the parliament.

"We used tear gas because protesters were blocking police and did not comply with the security measures we put in place," police spokesman Piya Uthaya told a local TV station, according to Reuters.

At least seven policemen were wounded and up to 132 protesters arrested in a clash near the U.N. Asia-Pacific headquarters, situated near the main rally site.

Pitak Siam group spokesman Air Marshal Watchara Ritthakanee had earlier said the group's rally Saturday and Sunday would be non-violent and that the movement would not move the crowd to the Government House or Parliament.

The government had stepped up the security in the wake of protests and closed five roads Friday, paralyzing traffic in the area. People were advised to avoid the routes surrounding the rally site until the protest ends.

Share this article