Thailand protesters seek help overthrowing government

[JURIST] Protestors in Thailand on Friday demand assistance in overthrowing the government, after Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra [BBC profile] survived a no-confidence vote by parliament on Thursday. Despite the vote, thousands of protesters have gathered around government buildings seeking Shinawatra's ouster [CNN report]. The demonstration against Shinawatra is the biggest since the 2010 anti-government protests when 90 civilians were killed in a military crackdown [TIME backgrounder]. Earlier this week, in response to the protests, Shinawatra invoked a special security law [JURIST report] in districts of Bangkok and nearby areas after protesters stormed and occupied several key ministries. The law gives police additional powers to block routes, impose curfews, ban gatherings and carry out searches. Shinawatra has reported that she is open to dialogue with protesters, but that she will not resign from her position or dissolve the Thai parliament.

Thailand's political system has been unstable since the 2006 military coup [AHRC backgrounder, PDF] by the Royal Thai Army against then-prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra [BBC profile], and the Bangkok crackdown has only exacerbated the instability. Following democratic party defeats in 2011, Abhisit Vejjajiva [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] resigned [Bangkok Post report] as prime minister. A month before his departure, he rejected a proposal [JURIST report] by the opposition party seeking a referendum to grant amnesty to those involved in the 2006 military coup. In February 2011, seven leaders of Thailand's "red-shirt" pro-democracy movement [BBC backgrounder], another group that opposes the country's current leadership, were released on bail [JURIST report] after being arrested on terrorism charges stemming from their involvement in the Bangkok protests. Last December, Thailand's Department of Special Investigation (DSI) announced that Abhisit will be charged with murder [JURIST report] for his role in the 2010 Thai military crackdown on anti-government protesters. Earlier that year, members of the movement also petitioned [JURIST report] the International Criminal Court (ICC) to launch a preliminary investigation into whether the government committed crimes against humanity during those protests.

 

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