Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Thai PM locks down Bangkok

Thai PM locks down Bangkok

Thai PM locks down Bangkok

1-Thailand.jpg
1-Thailand.jpg

AFP

Pro-government protestors clash with riot police in Bangkok as Thailand’s political crisis deepens Tuesday.

BANGKOK - Thailand's prime minister declared a state of emergency in the capital Tuesday after thousands of his opponents and supporters clashed in the worst street violence here in more than a decade.

One person was killed and 44 were injured, some of them from gunshot wounds, as a week of mass protests calling for the resignation of Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej spilled over into bloodshed overnight.

Samak called on the protesters to leave the main government complex, which they have occupied for the past week.

"They must be moved from the Government House," Samak told a nationally televised news conference. "I had no other choice but to declare a state of emergency in Bangkok in order to solve the problem for once and for all."

The emergency decree essentially gives control of the capital to Thailand's powerful army chief, General Anupong Paojinda, just eight months after Samak's civilian government was elected to end more than a year of military rule.

Anupong now has the power to break up any gathering of more than five people, but he insisted that he would try to negotiate with the protesters rather than resorting to violence.

"There can still be a peaceful solution through negotiations," Anupong told reporters.

"I can ensure to every person in the press that police and the Thai military will not use violence to any civilian by any means," Anupong said in English.

But protesters from a group calling itself the People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD), which is pushing for the elected premier to stand down, were gearing up for a fight.

Activists rolled barbed wire across streets in central Bangkok, while donning motorcycle helmets and patrolling key areas with golf clubs and wooden sticks.

"So far there is no contact from the military ... but PAD does not intend to hold talks with anybody," said Somsak Kosaisuk, a PAD leader.

"Samak and his government must quit," he told reporters inside the heavily barricaded government complex.

Thai police called in army reinforcements early Tuesday to rein in the clashes, setting nerves on edge in a country that has seen 18 military coups since the end of absolute monarchy in 1932. AFP

MOST VIEWED

  • New US bill ‘is a violation of Cambodian independence’

    After a US congressmen introduced bipartisan legislation that will enact sanctions on Cambodian officials responsible for “undermining democracy” in the Kingdom, government officials and the ruling Cambodian People’s Party on Sunday said they regarded the potential action as the “violation of independence and sovereignty

  • Long way to go before Cambodia gets a ‘smart city’

    Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and Battambang will struggle to attain smart city status without adopting far reaching master plans, according to officials tasked with implementing the program. The brainchild of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), the smart city program seeks to link up

  • Ministry’s plan for net sparks fears

    The government has ordered all domestic and international internet traffic in the Kingdom to pass through a Data Management Centre (DMC) that has been newly created by the state-owned Telecom Cambodia, in a move some have claimed is an attempt to censor government critics. Spokesman

  • China-Cambodia tourism forum held

    The Cambodian tourism sector must be prepared to welcome a growing number of Chinese tourists, as they lead the globe in the number of outbound travellers and were responsible for the most visitors to the Kingdom last year, the country’s tourism minister said on