Thailand to deploy 15,000 forces

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Thailand to deploy 15,000 forces NewsLineToday    Gallery Enlarge Image

Manju Shukla
Date  08/01/2014
Thai officials have announced plans to deploy nearly 15,000 forces to Bangkok next week for the planned “shutdown” of the country’s capital by demonstrators.

The Thai government set the deployment plan as protesters, trying to overthrow the government, say they would occupy Bangkok from January 13 to prevent government officials from going to work.

The anti-government protesters also plan to cut off power and water to state buildings.

The government is mobilizing 14,880 police and soldiers for the mass rally, national police spokesman Piya Uthayo said in a televised briefing.

    "Goal is to prevent any violence or clashes,"

Protests started on October 31, 2013, after the government proposed an amnesty bill that could have extended a pardon to ousted Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, current Prime Minister Yingluck’s brother, and paved the way for his return to Thailand.

Thaksin was toppled by a military coup in 2006 and since then, he has lived in self-imposed exile to avoid jail term over a corruption conviction.

Following the unrelenting political turmoil in the country, the premier called snap elections to defuse the crisis, vowing to rid the country of the influence of her brother.

Accusing Yingluck of being a puppet of her brother, the demonstrators snubbed her calls, saying political reforms are needed before any elections are held.

They also demanded a “people’s council” tasked with overseeing “a vague reform platform.”

The demonstrations at times have brought as many as 200,000 people on the streets, unanimously calling for the resignation of Yingluck Shinawatra.

Sporadic clashes between the protesters and security forces have flared up the political unrest in the country. At least three people have been killed and scores wounded during the clashes so far.

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