Thursday, February 20, 2014

4 people dead in Bangkok, 64 injured -
but nothing cleared in Thailand

One police officer and three civilians were killed and 64 injured as authorities tried to reclaim the anti-government protest site at Phan Fah Bridge on Ratchadamnoen Avenue in Bangkok un Tuesday February 19 (see Bangkok Post).
But the try to clear the protests site by the government of Yingluck Shinawatra did clear nothing. On Wednesday strong protests were ongoing. After the protesters had blocked Government house, protest-leader Suthep Thaugsuban on Wednesday led about 20000 protesters to block Yingluck Shinawatra from entering the Office of the Defence Permanent Secretary at Muang Thong Thani, which she had been using for cabinet meetings, as Bangkok Post reported. The prime minister did not show up.
Suthep Thaugsuban, whom the police has orders to arrest, was able to talk to General Apichart Saengrungruang, director of the Defence Industry and Energy Centre. Suthep called for the armed forces to side with demonstrators to quickly wrap up the campaign to oust the prime minister. But General Apichart insisted on no military involvement in settling the conflict, saying that political problems should be resolved by political means (read Bangkok Post).
The anti-government movement scored a major victory on Wednesday when the Civil Court ruled in favour of protester Thaworn Senneam's petition, prohibiting the government from abusing the emergency decree to subvert people's right to peaceful and constitutional assembly. The court by a majority vote ruled that the government's Centre for Maintaining Peace and Order (CMPO) cannot use force to disperse the protest, as The Nation reports.
"We deserve better: it's time to restart Thailand", wrote the former Thai prime minister Abhisit Vejjajiva, leader of the Democrat Party, in the Financial Times. "Only someone credible and accepted by all sides can lead the reform process and manage the short transition to new elections in which everyone participates."

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