Troops patrol Bangkok after clashes

Thai capital quiet day after deadly clashes between anti-government protesters and police.

The PAD has vowed to continue its protests [AFP]
The PAD has vowed to continue its protests [AFP]

The streets around parliament were almost deserted, except for police deployed to sweep the area of debris and about 20 overturned cars left from the clashes.
Schools around parliament were closed, but in the rest of the city, people went to work and continued their daily routines seemingly unaffected by events a day earlier.

Government medical officials said 428 people were injured in the violence, which erupted after police tried to disperse thousands of protesters surrounding parliament to try to prevent Somchai Wongsawat from giving his first policy speech as prime minister.
The address went ahead but his speech was boycotted by the opposition Democracy party and protesters blockaded legislators inside, causing Somchai and five aides to climb a fence to escape the mob later.

MPs rebuffed


Thai protesters and troops face-off on Bangkok’s streets

Al Jazeera’s Selina Downes, reporting from outside the parliament building on Tuesday, said some Thai MPs had come out of the building in an attempt to negotiate with the protesters, but their efforts had been rebuffed.

Members of the anti-government People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD) that led the protests were quick to blame security forces for the unrest and vowed to fight on.
“We will clear away our tears and we will stand up and fight with one heart and two hands,” one PAD member who refused to be named told the AFP news agency.
One female protester was killed during the clashes after suffering internal injuries, a doctor from a Bangkok hospital said, and a man was also killed in a car bombing near the protest site.
Police said eight officers were shot or stabbed.
The army said police had called in the military to help quell protests but insisted there would be no fresh military takeover in Thailand, which has had 18 coups since the end of the absolute monarchy in 1932.

‘Absolutely no coup’
General Anupong Paojinda, the army chief, told reporters on Tuesday that “absolutely the military will not stage a coup”.

Bangkok’s streets were almost deserted on Wednesday [EPA]

“It’s not good for our country,” he said.
Somchai, who has only been in the post for three weeks, has declared he will not resign or declare a state of emergency in the capital.
But his deputy, Chavalit Yongchaiyudh, resigned on Tuesday, saying he took responsibility for the violence.
“Since this action did not achieve what I planned, I want to show my responsibility for this operation,” he wrote in his resignation letter.
Tuesday’s clashes come after months of mounting political tensions in Thailand which began in late May when demonstrators from the PAD – a loose coalition of businessmen, academics and activists – launched their campaign to overthrow the elected government.
In early August PAD supporters moved to occupy the grounds of Government House, the prime minister’s offices in the centre of Bangkok close to the parliament building.
Their original aim had been to oust the then prime minister, Samak Sundaravej, whom they accused of being a puppet of Thaksin Shinawatra, Thailand’s former leader who was removed in a 2006 military coup.
They have since vowed to oppose Somchai as Samak’s replacement.
Somchai is Thaksin’s brother-in-law.

Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies


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