Thailand Protesters Forcibly Enter Army Headquarters

Thailand protests continue

On the sixth day of anti-government rallies, protesters in Thailand have now forcibly entered the army headquarters compound.

A great number of other protesters would gather outside the headquarters of the ruling party in an effort to force the controlling faction to step down from government control.

Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra pled with protestors on Thursday to end the street demonstrations. This came after surviving a vote of confidence in parliament.   That appeal was rejected by the leader of the demonstrations,  Suthep Thaugsuban.

Close to a thousand demonstrators broke open the gate of the army headquarters and forced their way inside.

Colonel Sansern Kaewkamnerd, a spokesman for the Thailand army, said the protesters were demonstrating  in the courtyard but were not actually inside the headquarters.

Protesters were seen on a lawn directly outside the headquarters listening to speeches being made on a makeshift stage.  The speeches were directed at the Thailand army and were asking them to come out on the side of the protesters.

In the past week, demonstrators have protested at several government buildings. Most recently, they had protested at the national police headquarters and had managed to shut it down.

The government has made attempt to engage the protesters in negotiations but protesters have rejected each attempt.

Reporters on hand have said that authorities in the area seem set on not engaging in confrontation.

In the meantime, security was significantly tighter around the Pheu Thai party headquarters, where more demonstrators were starting to gather.

During the protests, which have been mainly peaceful in nature, demonstrators were responsible for cutting the electricity lines to the national police headquarters and forcing Thailand’s top crime-fighting agency to have to evacuate the building.

The protesters claim that Shinawatra’s government is actually being run by her brother, Thaksin Shinawatra, who is an exiled former leader.

Shinawatra has exercised executive powers  and allowed curfews and road closures. Also, police have issued an arrest warrant for Suthep. However, officials have not taken any action in executing that warrant.

In a televised address on Thursday, Ms Yingluck said to the people of Thailand that the protesters should seriously consider negotiations with the government of Thailand. She said that the government does not want to play any type of games in fear that it would cause a deterioration of the nation’s economy.

It was estimated that close to a hundred thousand opposition supporters gathered in Bangkok for a protest on Sunday. Since that time, some believe the number of protesters has dropped significantly.  However, many believe that those numbers will go up again over the weekend.

These are the largest protests the country has faced since 2010. At  that time, more than 90 civilian protesters died during a two month sit-in at particular parts of the capital.

A recent proposed political amnesty bill which many believed would have facilitated the return of Thaksin Shinawatra from exile without ever having to serve jail time caused some deep political tensions to resurface.

The Senate rejected this piece of legislation, which had as its objective the covering of offenses committed during the time that Thaksin Shinawatra was removed from office.

The forcible entrance of the protesters into the Thailand army compound is an indicator that it may be a while before tensions are calmed.

By Rick Hope