May 9, 2014
Police in Thailand have used tear gas and water canons to disperse thousands of anti-government protesters days after the country’s prime minister was ousted by a controversial court decision.
The authorities in Bangkok pushed back protesters who were trying to force their way into a government compound and demanding the immediate resignation of the new, caretaker prime minister. The protesters’ leader said he would give the government three days to resign before his supporters forced it out.
The clashes came just days after a court in Thailand ordered that Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, sister of former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, and nine members of her cabinet stand down immediately after they were found guilty of improperly transferring a bureaucrat.
On Thursday, things got worse for Ms Yingluck when she was found guilty by another tribunal, the National Anti-Corruption Commission, of dereliction of duty in relation to a rice subsidy scheme. If that matter is taken up by the upper house of Thailand’s parliament she could be banned from parliament for five years.
While five people were reported to have been injured and Bangkok’s notoriously bad traffic was snarled even more, Friday’s still-ongoing protests created less chaos than some had anticipated.
But the prospect for further problems has not gone away. On Saturday, Red Shirt supporters of Ms Yingluck and her brother are planning to hold their own rally in Bangkok. Ms Yingluck may be invited to address them.