Bangkok under emergency as pro-govt leader shot

2014-01-22 09:48
Thai soldiers stand guard at an intersection following the government's announcement of a state of emergency in Bangkok. (Pornchai Kittiwongsakul, AFP)

Thai soldiers stand guard at an intersection following the government's announcement of a state of emergency in Bangkok. (Pornchai Kittiwongsakul, AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

kalahari.com

Udon Thani - A pro-government leader was shot and wounded on Wednesday in Thailand's northeast, a stronghold of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, as a state of emergency began in and around the capital Bangkok where protesters are trying to force her to resign.

The government issued the 60-day emergency decree late on Tuesday, handing security agencies wide powers to detain suspects, impose a curfew and limit gatherings.

Officials said it was aimed at preventing an escalation of the protests that have gripped the capital for more than two months and brought parts of the centre to a halt.

Bangkok appeared normal and people were going about their business as usual with police making no attempt to break up the protests, including one outside a complex where Yingluck was working.

But highlighting the risk of the political deadlock turning violent, "red shirt" leader Kwanchai Praipana, who had warned of a nationwide "fight" if the military launched a coup, was wounded in the arm and leg in a drive-by shooting at his home in the north-eastern town of Udon Thani.

Police said they believed it was politically motivated.

"From the way the assailants fired, they obviously didn't want him to live," his wife, Arporn Sarakham, told Reuters. Police said they had found 39 bullet cases at the house.

Kwanchai Praipana leads thousands of pro-government supporters in Udon Thani province.

‘People’s council’

On Tuesday, he told Reuters that if the military attempted a coup: "I can assure you, on behalf of the 20 provinces in the northeast, that we will fight. The country will be set alight if the soldiers come out".

So far the military, which has been involved in 18 actual or attempted coups in the past 81 years, has kept out of the fray. The police are charged with imposing the state of emergency, under orders from Yingluck to treat protesters against her government with patience.

"We will try our best," army chief Prayuth Chan-Ocha told reporters. "But if any violence erupts and no one can solve it, the troops will have to step in and tackle it. We will look after our nation with the right methods. We will not lead the nation into any violence."

Nine people have died and dozens have been wounded in violence, including two grenade attacks in the capital over the weekend, since protesters took to the streets in November to demand Yingluck step down and a "people's council" be set up to bring sweeping reforms to Southeast Asia's second-biggest economy.

The protests are the latest eruption in a political conflict that has gripped the country for eight years. It pits the middle class of Bangkok and royalist establishment against the mainly poorer supporters of Yingluck and her brother, ex-premier Thaksin Shinawatra, toppled by the military in 2006.

"We will oust the government. This government lacks the right to rule the country. It is an illegal government," protest leader Chumpol Chulsai told hundreds of demonstrators outside the complex where Yingluck has a temporary office.

Corruption and nepotism

The Election Commission said it would seek a ruling from the Constitutional Court on Wednesday on whether it can delay the 2 February election called by Yingluck. It is worried about violence on polling day and says the protests have prevented some candidates from registering, meaning there will not be a quorum to open parliament.

Protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban has rejected the election outright. He accuses Thaksin of corruption and nepotism and wants to change the electoral system to eradicate the influence of Thaksin, who lives in exile in Dubai to avoid a jail term handed down in 2008 for abuse of power.

Suthep, when he was a deputy prime minister, sent in troops to end mass protests by pro-Thaksin supporters in 2010. More than 90 people died in that unrest.

The crisis has hurt tourism and business confidence. As a result, the central bank could cut interest rates when it meets on Wednesday to boost the economy.

Adding to Yingluck's problems, farmers, who are part of her core constituency, have threatened to join the protest if they do not get paid for the rice they have sold to the government under a controversial intervention scheme.

Her government guaranteed them an above-market price for their rice but the scheme has run into funding difficulties.

The government has sold a bond and is seeking loans to tide it over, but the Election Commission, which has to approve such action by the caretaker government, has declined to give its support.

Read more on:    yingluck shinawatra  |  thaksin shinawatra  |  thailand
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
1 comment
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
 

Fire white civil servants in W Cape - Cosatu

If the ANC wins the Western Cape in the 7 May general election, Cosatu will ask it to fire more than half the white senior civil servants.

 
 

Latest elections multimedia

Why Jack Parow wants you to vote on 7 May
The ad the SABC doesn't want to air
Elections 2014 in one cartoon
This year's election posters
 
Traffic
Lottery
 
  • Thursday Epping - 12:37 PM
    Road name: N7 Vanguard Drive
    TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Bofors Circle - expect DELAYS
  • Thursday Newlands - 12:22 PM
    Road name: M3 Northbound
    DELAYS on Wynberg Hill
 
More traffic reports...
 

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Escape winter, head to Mauritius

Escape winter by spending 7 nights in Mauritius' tropical bliss from R13 215 per person sharing. Includes return flights, airport transfers and accommodation. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Get many eggs in one basket!

Gaming bundles: 2 Super Hits games for R99, 3 Disney games for R99 and more + exclusive accessory bundles only available on kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

25% off bestselling books!

The Real Meal Revolution by Tim Noakes, Jeffrey Archer’s Be Careful What You Wish for, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frank and many more titles. Shop now!

Up to 25% off electronics

Buy top electronics and save up to 25%. Such as kalahari.com’s 1# selling product the gobii eReader, Patriot X Porter flash drive, Asus Nexus 7” 3G tablet, Samsung Galaxy SIII, Lenovo G580 Notebook and many more. Shop now!

DStv HD PVR Decoder now R949

The DStv HD PVR Decoder has further revolutionised the television experience with lifelike viewing, sharper images, more vibrant colours and precision picture quality. Now R949, save R550. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 30% off appliances & homeware

Save up to 30% on appliances and homeware this Easter! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Canon EOS 600D

The Canon EOS 600D Digital Camera puts the widely respected...

From R5389.00

I'm shopping for:

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

You may be required to travel or get information for your job. This may be restricting in some way or something may slow things...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.