[JURIST] A Thai court on Monday dismissed the government's application for an injunction against protesters gathered in Bangkok's business district. The Internal Security Operations Command, under the direction of Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva [official profile], applied for an injunction [Bangkok Post report] that would have ordered the protest organizers to lead the group out of the area after three days of protests. The court was also asked to ban rallies in 11 other areas, which, on Sunday, were declared by the government to be covered under the Internal Security Act (ISA) [text, PDF], restricting protesters from entering. The court denied the request [AFP report], stating that it was unnecessary given that the government already had the power to evict protesters under the ISA. The protesters, known as the red shirts [BBC backgrounder], are supporters of former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra [BBC profile; JURIST news archive], who was removed from power in 2006 following a coup. They converged on Bangkok's commercial hub on Saturday, demanding that the Election Commission (EC) [official website] agree to expedite a corruption case against the ruling Democrat Party [party website, in Thai]. The party has been accused of receiving a 258 million baht (USD $8 million) donation in violation of a 10 million baht (USD $300,000) annual limit contained in the Thai Constitution [text, PDF].
The Thai Cabinet [official website, in Thai] approved [JURIST report] the invocation of the ISA last month to allow for increased security measures in anticipation of large anti-government protests. The Cabinet later extended [AFP report] application of the ISA after protests continued beyond the original March 23 mandate. The law was designed to provide more power to security forces [BBC report] and allow for the movement of protesters to be restricted through the imposition of curfews, checkpoints, and restrictions on the size of gatherings, in the event demonstrations turn violent. In February, the Thai Constitutional Court seized [JURIST report] 46.4 billion baht (USD $1.4 billion) in assets from Thaksin for abuses of power while in office. Thaksin has been convicted of corruption in Thailand, but Cambodia has refused [JURIST reports] to extradite him. Last April, Abhisit instituted a state of emergency [JURIST report] in Bangkok and several provinces following an outbreak of protests calling for his resignation. He also canceled [press release] the summit of the Association of South-East Asian Nations [official website] leaders, which was being held in the country.