No end in sight to Thailand crisis

Election to go ahead despite protests

Key road junctions are blocked and ministries are surrounded as flag-waving anti-government protesters intensify their grip on the Thai capital Bangkok.

The government said this morning that an election timed for February 2 would go ahead as planned. But the protesters are not listening, saying their “shutdown” of the capital will continue until the prime minister resigns.

The protesters say the government of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra is controlled by her brother, the former leader Thaksin Shinawatra, who is wanted on corruption charges and lives abroad. The protesters want an unelected People’s Council to make reforms in the country.

An election would likely keep the government in power, thanks to its widespread support in the north of the country. The dispute raises the possibility of further chaos and violence, the BBC reports. So far, Thaksin’s “red-shirt” supporters have mainly stayed away from the current protests.

As tension escalates, shots were fired towards a protest barricade last night over a two-hour period, resulting in some injuries. A small blast also occurred at a house belonging to an opposition leader, causing no injuries.


[photo: Flickr (ilf_)]


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