Bloomberg: Thai Police Fire Tear Gas to Disperse Protesters, Several Hurt
Thai police fired tear gas to disperse protesters who were blocking the Parliament building to prevent Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat from presenting his new administration’s policies. Dozens of people were injured.
Thousands of Bangkok residents who have occupied the prime minister’s office since Aug. 26 moved to surround Parliament last night in a bid to stop today’s session. Somchai called on the police to ensure that lawmakers could convene, saying they were “representing the whole country.”
AP: Police fire tear gas against crowd
Police fired tear gas Tuesday at several thousand demonstrators attempting to block access by lawmakers to the Parliament building in the Thai capital.
Reporters at the scene Tuesday saw at least one person injured by the gas. Sounds of gunfire were also heard but senior police officials said that only tear gas was being used against the crowd.
“I don’t think there are many injuries,” police Maj. Gen. Viboon Bangthamai said.
The protests are part of an effort by the People’s Alliance for Democracy to bring down the government, which it says is merely a proxy for ex-Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who was ousted in 2006 by military leaders who accused him of corruption and who now resides in exile.
BBC (with video): Tear gas fired at mass Thai rally
Police in Thailand have fired tear gas to disperse a demonstration by thousands of anti-government protesters in Bangkok.
Dozens of people were injured as police intervened in the dawn protest in front of parliament.
The clashes came just hours before new PM Somchai Wongsawat was to deliver a key policy statement.
The protesters say he is a proxy for ex-PM Thaksin Shinawatra and want the government to resign.
The political crisis has gripped the country for about six weeks.
UPDATE, 8 p.m. Bangkok time:
BBC: Thai deputy PM quits over clashes
A senior government minister in Thailand has resigned after violent clashes between police and protesters.
Deputy PM Chavalit Yongchaiyudh said he was stepping down to take responsibility for the clashes, which injured at least 65 people.
The unrest came just hours before new Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat delivered his inaugural speech.
NY Times: Thai Protesters Trap Legislators
Thousands of anti-government protesters surrounded Parliament on Tuesday, trapping hundreds of legislators, cutting off power to the building and vowing to remain until the government falls.
Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat escaped over a back fence after delivering a policy address but other members were unable to leave, according to reporters inside the building.
The siege escalated a six-week sit-in on the grounds of the nearby prime minister’s office that has forced the government to relocate its activities to a former international airport.
AFP: Thai police fire tear gas at protesters
Thai police fired tear gas Tuesday to try to disperse anti-government protesters blocking parliament, injuring 116 people as months of political turmoil boiled over, police and medics said.
Twenty-one people suffered serious injuries, a medical official said, as police tried to disperse several thousand protesters surrounding parliament who tried to stop the first policy speech by new Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat.
The address went ahead, but the special session ended after two hours as protesters continued to mass outside, forcing Somchai and five ministers to climb over a fence to escape the mob, an AFP correspondent saw.
CNN’s In the Field blog: We all scream for ice-cream
In how many riot zones can you eat an ice-cream?
Seriously, Bangkok this morning, was a sea of choking tear gas, baton-wielding cops, firing stun grenades, furious anti-government protesters launching rocks into the air… and ice-cream salesmen. I’m not complaining. Ice-cream, I like, I lick.
You scream, they scream, we all scream for ice-cream, especially when the tear-gas is choking you and you need some soothing cool coconut glace down your throat.
But it was slightly incongruous to say the least, to see cold refreshments being served amid the chaos.
Thailand though, does a good line in juxtaposition and defying cliche. It’s a riot, but only until lunchtime, when protesters and police retreat to enjoy a fiery plate of rice and minced pork. Then it’s back to the serious business of overthrowing the government.