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Riot police clash with protesters in Bangkok
February 18, 2014, 3:01 pm


Thai protesters use barb wire to block access near Government House in Bangkok [Xinhua]

Thai protesters use barb wire to block access near Government House in Bangkok [Xinhua]

Three people have died and dozens more injured as riot police forces clashed with anti-government protesters in the capital Bangkok on Tuesday.

The violence broke out when protesters pushed against police in an effort to regain locations – such as Democracy Monument in Central Bangkok – they had previously occupied for months.

One civilian and two police officers were shot dead as reports varied over who initiated gunfire.

Police forces also detained 100 other protesters while reclaiming the besieged ministry of energy.

On Monday, the government announced it begin reclaiming protest locations and reopening them for public use.

Thai protesters, who have flocked into the capital from all around the country, have blocked main roads and squares, and laid siege to several government offices around Bangkok, including the Prime Minister’s office Government House.

They vowed to continue their fight until their demands — the implementation of political reforms and the resignation of PM Yingluck Shinawatra — are met. The opposition movement suggested that an unelected popular council would replace Yingluck and implement necessary changes.

Citizens obstructed the general elections that had been scheduled for February 2, saying reforms had to be put in place before the polls, blocking at least 10 percent of polling stations, reports said.

Yingluck, however, had refused to postpone the elections despite please from Thailand’s Electoral Commission, who cited the lack of stability and the growing violence between protesters and the police as reasons to reschedule late last year.

Just before the New Year, a protest rally in Bangkok turned deadly when an unidentified man opened fire on demonstrators, killing one and wounding four others.

Yingluck says she would like to see the establishment of an independent reform body that would investigate corruption and propose changes, but had insisted it would function in tandem with the February 2 elections.

The protesters have been rallying since November against a bid by the government to officially pardon former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, Yingluck’s brother, a former business magnate currently in exile in Dubai.

Thaksin was ousted in a military coup in 2006 and accused of corruption and abuse of power.

The official Thai anti-corruption commission announced on Tuesday it would file charges against Yingluck over a controversial rice subsidy scheme they say leaves much room for corruption.

Yingluck had won the 2011 elections with massive support from rural areas.

Source: Agencie


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