Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Thai protesters besiege govt buildings, call on PM to quit

Thai protesters besiege govt buildings, call on PM to quit Updated on : 26-11-2013 03:50 PM
A Thai court on Tuesday approved an arrest warrant for a top anti-government leader as thousands of demonstrators besieged government buildings demanding beleaguered Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra's resignation.

"We sought an arrest warrant for Suthep (Thaugsuban) and the Criminal Court just approved it," said Colonel Sunthorn Kongklam of Bang Sue police station in the capital.

"I ask him to surrender, otherwise police can arrest him on sight."

Thousands of protesters continued their siege of government buildings which began yesterday as the Parliament discussed a no-confidence motion against the Prime Minister.

Demonstrators surrounded the interior, agriculture, transport, and sports and tourism ministries, ordering officials inside to leave, a day after they broke into the finance and foreign ministries and cut off electric and water supply.

Suthep, a former deputy Prime Minister and senior leader from the opposition Democrat party, vowed to "seize all ministries" after storming the finance ministry yesterday.

The protests raised fears of fresh street violence since 2010 as thousands of demonstrators rallied against Prime Minister Yingluck and her brother Thaksin Shinawatra, who was ousted in a 2006 coup.

The demonstrations, sparked by an amnesty bill that could have allowed the return of Thaksin from self-imposed exile, escalated troubles for Yingluck since she took office in 2011 with Thaksin support from the "Red Shirts", whose 2010 protests were crushed by the then Democrat-led government.

Opposition Democrat Party leader and former premier Abhisit Vejjajiva attacked Prime Minister Yingluck denouncing her as the "centre of comprehensive corruption practises".

During the first day of the censure debate against Yingluckand Interior Minister Charupong Ruangsuwan, Abhisit alleged corrupt practices centred on Yingluckat every step and added that she tolerated corruption from "mountaintop to overlapping sea territories with ulterior motives".

Abhisit said the Yingluckgovernment may have won the majority in the House but it also had caused hardship.

"The government has held the country and its people hostage on several occasions. The prime minister let individuals in the government commit corruption."

The People's Army to Overthrow Thaksin's Regime announced that its protesters would stay overnight in front of the Interior Ministry.

They could not enter the ministry's compound because riot-control policemen were deployed to guard the ministry.

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