Thousands protest after Thai party dissolved

About 3,000 people wearing yellow headbands and chanting "Junta -- get out!" gathered at a central Bangkok intersection, Thursday after a ruling barring the ousted prime minister and his party from elections, hemmed in by hundreds of police who refused to

Thousands protest after Thai party dissolved
Thousands of protesters denouncing Thailand's junta braved a security clampdown here Thursday after a ruling barring the ousted prime minister and his party from elections cast uncertainty on the country's political future.

About 3,000 people wearing yellow headbands and chanting "Junta -- get out!" gathered at a central Bangkok intersection, Thursday after a ruling barring the ousted prime minister and his party from elections, hemmed in by hundreds of police who refused to let the demonstration move.

"We are not allowing them to hold rally," said Colonel Supisarn Bhakdinarinach, a metropolitan police spokesman.

The turnout was smaller than that expected by the authorities, who earlier said they were braced for thousands of Thai Rak Thai (TRT) members to join a rally by a group supporting ex-prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra.

Army chief Sonthi Boonyaratglin told AFP an indefinite crackdown had been imposed with extra checkpoints and other security measures, and with Thaksin's "hardcore" allies under close watch.

"Security measures have been stepped up since last night and will gradually be increased. The measures will be in place for a long time," said the general, who led the coup against Thaksin in September.

Thaksin, now living in London, apologised to his party over the court ruling handed down late Wednesday.

"I, as founder and leader of the party ... apologise to all party members, executives and supporters who have met with this unexpected fate," he wrote in a letter handed out to media.

Thaksin's party was found guilty of fraud in April 2006 elections, which were later annulled amid a flurry of allegations of wrongdoing.

Last Mod: 31 Mayıs 2007, 19:22
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