in Thai politics

Anti-Government Protesters to Rally in Bangkok Saturday

2012 11 23 bangkok protest map
Map via The Nation.

The AP reports:

Thailand will deploy thousands of police officers and has invoked a special security law for an anti-government rally Saturday that is expected to be the largest since Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra took office in 2011 and that officials fear could turn violent.

Authorities expect tens of thousands of protesters, a turnout that would serve as a sharp reminder of the deep political divisions in the country despite two years of relative calm.

Yingluck on Friday accused the protesters of seeking to overthrow her elected government.

The demonstration is being organized by a royalist group calling itself “Pitak Siam” – or “Protect Thailand” – at Bangkok’s Royal Plaza, a public space near Parliament that has been used by protesters in the past.

While the group is a newcomer to Thailand’s protest scene, it is linked to the well-known “Yellow Shirt” protesters, whose rallies led to former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra’s overthrow. The same movement later toppled a Thaksin-allied elected government after occupying and shutting down Bangkok’s two airports for a week in 2008.

Bloomberg says:

Thai police warned of a plot to abduct Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra as her cabinet approved using an internal security law to manage an anti- government rally scheduled for tomorrow.

“We have some worrisome intelligence that there may be violence when a lot of people gather,” National Police Chief Adul Sangsingkeo told reporters in Bangkok yesterday. “We are also very concerned about rumors about riots and the abduction of the prime minister.”

And:

“Despite the noise, there appears to be little likelihood of any eruption, as the UDD red shirts have judiciously announced plans to give the protest a wide berth,” JP Morgan equity analyst Sriyan Pietersz wrote, adding that the political tension may damp overseas demand for Thai stocks.

The WSJ reports:

Amid the buildup to the protest, Thailand’s national police chief Gen. Adul Saensingkaew alleged that investigators had uncovered a plot to abduct Ms. Yingluck and hold her hostage, although analysts said the claim and the imposition of the security laws, are typical of the heated atmosphere around large-scale demonstrations in Thailand. Other unsubstantiated rumors abound, including conspiracy theories that Mr. Thaksin’s opponents plan to fire on the protesters in order to discredit Ms. Yingluck.

“Stories of ‘third-hand’ plans to attack protesters or plans for protesters to ‘arrest’ Prime Minister Yingluck are part and parcel of emotional political events in Bangkok, and are more political drama than an actual threat,” Bangkok-based security consultancy PSA Asia said in a note to clients Thursday.

Theres’s also a story from Reuters, and English-language newspapers The Bangkok Post and The Nation have more.

And finally, for updated news, embedded below and online here is my Twitter list of Bangkok journalists.