Five people were injured on Friday when Thailand’s police fired tear gas at protesters demanding the ouster of the country's caretaker government after a court ruling ordered the country's leader, Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, to step down.
More than 10,000 protesters marched through Bangkok to demand the ouster of the Yingluck. They called for the entire government step down, including the interim administration, which is controlled by the Yingluck’s Puea Thai Party. The protests came two days after a court found the prime minister guilty of illegally transferring her security chief and negligence, and it ordered her and her ministers to step down from their posts. Yingluck will also be tried for a controversial rice program, after which farmers claimed the government did not return their money, despite taking the rice at a subsidized price, an anti-graft body said on Thursday.
"We want the change of government to be smooth," Suthep Thaugsuban, leader of the opposition Democrat party and a former Deputy Prime Minister, said, according to the Associated Press."But if you cannot do it smoothly within three days, we the people will do it in our own way.”
The situation in Thailand has been tense as pro-government protesters, or “Red Shirts,” have begun staging protests, and more than 25 people have died in the past six months in related clashes, which have included gun and grenade attacks, Agence France-Presse reported. Anti-government protesters say the government is actually run by the prime minister's brother, Thaksin Shinawatra, who lives in exile to avoid a corruption charge against him.
"We will regain our sovereign power and set up a people's government and a people's legislative council,” Suthep said, according to the BBC. “We will march on all television stations. We ask city residents to surround police cars and police headquarters to stop them from hurting our people."
The caretaker government, run by Niwattumrong Boonsongpaisan, the former commerce minister, reportedly said that it aimes to hold a general election in July, but the opposition parties have been denying the move, demanding political reforms before the elections are held.
"That puppet Yingluck is gone, but our work is not over," Pornprasert Chernalom, who owns a small business in western Bangkok, said, according to Reuters. "The illegitimate Thaksin cabinet remains in power. Our next step is to give power back to the people."