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Anti-government protests resume in Bangkok

March 24, 2014, 10:58 UTC+3
March 21, the country’s Constitutional Court cancelled the results of parliamentary elections that took place February 2
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© AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit

BANGKOK, March 24. /ITAR-TASS/. After a short truce, Thailand expects in the nearest time new mass rallies that may erupt into unrest. Pro- and anti-governmental forces prepare for the new phase of political battle.

On Monday, oppositionists resumed protest marches in Bangkok. The protesters started their movement from Lumpini Park, which they are occupying for more than a month, to inform the citizens about the date of the new protest action. Opposition leader Suthep Thaugsuban scheduled it for March 29. “We will demonstrate again that we are against elections to be held before the political reforms. Don’t even try to arrange new elections under old rules. We won’t let this happen,” stated Suthep Thaugsuban, who is accused of treason by the authorities.

March 21, the country’s Constitutional Court cancelled the results of parliamentary elections that took place February 2. March 24, government’s supporters, unhappy with that decision, dressed in black in token of “mourning the democracy”. The monument to democracy in Bangkok’s downtown was also covered in black fabric.

The Red Shirts, pro-government forces in Thailand, are preparing for their own street rallies. A mass demonstration of supporters of the current government is scheduled for April 5. It’s place is not set yet. Observers note that, if the Red Shirts come out to the streets of Bangkok, clashes with oppositionists could be hardly avoided. Mass rallies of the political rivals many times ended with explosions and shootouts evolving to open street fights. Since November 2013, 23 people were killed and about 800 injured in clashes in Thailand.

The police increased security of such independent institutes as the Constitutional Court, National Anti-Corruption Committee and the Election Committee. Supporters of the government accuse these structures of playing into the hands of the opposition. In view of the aggravation of the situation in the domestic policy, law enforcement agencies fear attacks on judges and members of committees.

“The elections were sabotaged by the opposition, but the court punished the voters. This is unfair. We will not let them steal our chance to elect the authorities directly. And we are ready to fight for our rights,” said one of the Red Shirts leaders Jatuporn Promphan. Meanwhile, the oppositionists come out for changing the political and electoral system in Thailand. They demand to introduce an income qualification and literacy test for those who may vote in order “to get rid of the political dictate of majority’s will”. With the current voting system “one person — one vote” the opposition has not won since 1992.

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