Thai opposition submits no-confidence motion against govt.

Debris waits for collection at the former anti-government rally site on Sunday, in Bangkok. Photo: AP.  

Thailand’s parliamentary opposition submitted a no—confidence motion against the government on Monday for its suppression of a two—month protest that left at least 85 dead.

The Puea Thai Party submitted the motion with Upper House Speaker Prasob Sukboondej and Lower House Speaker Chai Chitchob, who have seven days to study it.

The opposition also submitted impeachment motions against Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva, Deputy Prime Minister in charge of security Suthep Thaugsuban, Interior Minister Chavarat Charnvirakul and Transport Minister Sopon Zarum, radio reports said.

On May 13, the government ordered troops to disperse thousands of red shirt protestors who had seized the Ratchaprasong intersection since April 3, paralyzing central Bangkok with their protest demanding the dissolution of parliament.

When protestleaders surrendered, hardcore members of the red shirts went on a rampage in the city, looting, breaking into bank branches and torching 36 buildings. A total of 54 people died and about 400 were injured in the resulting mayhem.

The United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship is an extension of Puea Thai Party, whose de facto leader is fugitive former premier Thaksin Shinawatra.

Mr. Thaksin, who has been living abroad since 2008 to avoid a two—year jail term on an abuse—of—power conviction, was also a key financier and ringleader for the red shirts, who began their protests in Bangkok on March 12.

The demonstrations led to clashes and attacks on civilians and authorities that left 85 people dead and more than 1,400 injured.

Among the dead were two foreign journalists, including Japanese cameraman Hiroyaki Muramoto, who died in a street battle on April 10, and Italian freelance photographer Fabio Polenghi, who died on May 19.

A funeral was held for Polenghi in Bangkok on Monday.

“Fabio’s work has appeared in well known publications such as Vanity Fair, Vogue, Marie Claire and Elle. A photographer for more than 20 years, he visited Thailand several times and previously visited the North and border region for a report about Burma,” the Foreign Correspondents Club of Thailand said. Bangkok regained a semblance of normalcy Monday, after a massive weekend cleanup of a protest site and other zones affected by vandalism and street fighting.

Various shops in the Siam Square area had reopened Monday, and Ratchaprasong and Rathadmari streets were open to traffic. But hotels such as the Intercontinental and Hyatt Erawan, were still closed to business and the Zen Trade Centre, a target of the arsonists, will be closed for weeks.

Bangkok on Monday remained under emergency law and a night curfew, lasting from 11 pm to 4 am.

The capital’s two mass transit systems resumed operations on Sunday. The government has yet to estimate how much the unrest cost the nation, but the impact on tourism is expected to be considerable.

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Printable version | Jan 18, 2022 10:20:28 AM |

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