Thai capital hit by biggest protests since deadly 2010 unrest

Source: Reuters – Sun, 24 Nov 2013 12:41 PM

Author: Reuters


* 100,000 anti-government protesters in Bangkok

* Biggest demonstrations since 2010 political violence

* Anti-government group plans march on Monday

By Amy Sawitta Lefevre

BANGKOK, Nov 24 (Reuters) – About 100,000 anti-government protesters gathered in Thailand’s capital on Sunday, as simmering tensions between Bangkok’s middle classes and the mostly rural supporters of ousted Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra threatened to boil over.

The protests led by the opposition Democrat Party mark the biggest demonstrations since deadly political unrest in April-May 2010, when Thaksin’s red-shirted supporters paralysed Bangkok to try to remove a Democrat-led government.

Thaksin’s sister, Yingluck Shinawatra, is now in power after winning a 2011 election that was seen as a victory for the working poor and a defeat for the traditional Bangkok elite that includes top generals, royal advisers, middle-class bureaucrats, business leaders and old-money families.

After a delicate calm for the past two years, fissures between those two rival political forces are opening once again.

The rally was their biggest turnout yet. About 15 km (9 miles) away, in a stadium at the opposite end of the city, about 40,000 pro-government “red shirts” rallied in a show of support of the prime minister. Many came by bus from rural provinces in the north and northeast.


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