Thousands of protesters shut down Bangkok in "final showdown" with government
Bangkok (AsiaNews / Agencies ) - Thousands of anti-government protesters this morning blocked the main streets of Bangkok, shutting down the capital in an attempt to force the government to resign and postpone the parliamentary elections of February 2 . After weeks of tension, demonstrations and - in some cases - clashes that killed at least eight people and left dozens wounded, the "Yellow Shirts" are staging the " final showdown " in an attempt to oust the government headed by Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra .
Protest leaders, backed by the capital 's economic and financial elite, have rejected the proposal of an early vote , invoking the formation of a "council of the people" entrusted with the task of initiating reforms and eradicating the influence of the "Thaksin regime" from the country. In reality, their goal is to stop the electoral successes of the Shinawatra family - first Thaksin then his sister Yingluck - who have dominated politics in the nation over the least ten years due to a wide consensus in urban areas and among the poorest peasants of the north. A success, according to critics, stained by "vote trading" and widespread corruption.
Demonstrators erected barricades and occupied key hubs of the capital. In turn the government deployed at least 18 thousand police and soldiers to protect the capital and its 12 million inhabitants. Referring to the protest leaders Suthep Thaugsuban , executive sources explain that "the government will leave him play the hero ... today will be his show" and force will not be used to quell the demonstration in order to avoid the carnage of the past. The Prime Minister Shinawatra has ordered the police and military to "use extreme caution and not use all weapons available " to contain the protesters.
The anti-government protesters want to cripple the capital by blocking seven of the major intersections and surrounding ministries, army barracks and other buildings that are seen as symbols of power. The authorities have ordered the closure of 150 schools in Bangkok. Last night , addressing sympathizers Suthep Thaugsuban stated that there will be no half- victories, he stressed that "we will not accept any proposal or negotiation" because "in this battle, defeat is defeat and victory is victory. There are no trade-offs, no half-victories. The victory will go to one side. "
The protests, ongoing for
several weeks now, have thus far been largely peaceful, despite flashes of
tension and riots, including two police officers. The
military leaders, who are the real power behind the throne, so far have
remained neutral and hope for a vote on 2 February. According
to some protesters, political reforms should include among others the end of
the principle of "one person, one vote" and the change of the
representative model in fact, the great popularity of the government in rural
areas is also a guarantee of its victory in the next election.
The anti -government protests - a mix of members of the middle class, royalists and the inhabitants of the south - are the biggest since 2010, when the kingdom was shaken by a series of riots that ended in bloodshed and death 90 civilians. The protesters want the resignation of the government led by Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra , accused of being a "puppet" in the hands of her brother Thaksin , the billionaire and former prime minister in exile to escape a two-year prison sentence. In reality, the current government was democratically elected in 2011 and 28 November last easily survived a no-confidence motion tabled by the opposition in Parliament (297 votes against 134).