Thai Parliament Dissolved, Protesters Press On
Bangkok has been the site of a long series of increasingly violent protests. The anti-government protesters wish to rid their country of the influence of ousted Thaksin Shinawatra, a sentiment brought on by an attempt to bring him back into the country. The former prime minister was forced to flee after a military coup in 2006. His younger sister Yingluck Shinawatra was elected to the position of prime minister in 2011.
Her attempt to pass an amnesity bill that would help bring Thaksin home proved unsuccessful and caused a firestorm of protests. Since protests began, there have been five confirmed deaths and hundreds of injuries.
One hundred and fifty members of the Democrat Party threatened to resign and join the anti-government protests. As masses of protesters began to make their way towards the embattled prime minister’s home at Government House, Yingluck announced that she would be dissolving the Parliament.
Yingluck attempted to reach out to angry protesters in a televised address to the nation. “I don’t want our country and the Thai people to suffer from more losses.” She stated her desire to leave the country’s fate in the hands of the people, calling for a special election.
— Ben (@BenJedbadin) December 9, 2013
Protesters were unimpressed with the announcement, viewing the decision as an irrelevant distraction. Suthep Thaugsuban, leader of the series of protests told Reuters that the movement would not be deterred.
“We will continue our march to Government House. We have not yet reached our goal. The dissolving of parliament is not our aim.”
[Reuters] Thai protests to continue, despite dissolution Parliament, election not the aim, says protest leader Suthep http://t.co/D1DuLjhcVP
— Richard Barrow (@RichardBarrow) December 9, 2013
A major reason for the cynicism is Yingluck’s widespread popularity. Despite protesters in Bangkok numbering into the tens of thousands, an election will likely result in her being re-elected. Opposition to Yingluck’s power hope to wrest control of the country from her through the creation of a new non-government entity. The suggestion was denounced by Yingluck as unconstitutional.