Thailand protests: Tens of thousands begin 'Bangkok shutdown'





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Published on Jan 12, 2014

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Tens of thousands of people in Thailand have begun a month-long "shutdown" of Bangkok in an attempt to force the country's prime minister, Yingluck Shinawatra, to step down. Roads have been blocked and tents and stages have been set up in a number of major residential and business areas. Demonstrators led by former opposition politician Suthep Thaugsuban started blocking major intersections late on Sunday. The upheaval is the latest chapter in an eight-year conflict pitting Bangkok's middle class and Royalist establishment against the mostly poorer, rural supporters of Yingluck and her self-exiled brother, former premier Thaksin Shinawatra. Thaksin was ousted by the military in 2006 and sentenced to jail in absentia for abuse of power, but he still looms large over Thai politics. Eight people, including two police officers, have been killed and scores wounded in violence between protesters, police and government supporters in recent weeks, although there has been no sustained fighting between rival groups. Yingluck has called a snap election for February 2nd, which protest leader Suthep has rejected. Suthep's stated goal is to eradicate the influence of the Shinawatra family on Thai politics. Report by Mark Morris.

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