Thailand: Pro-government supporters say an unelected replacement could lead the country into civil war

Tens of thousands marched in the capital's western suburbs as fears over violence continue to grow

Tens of thousands of pro-government supporters have rallied in Thailand’s capital Bangkok, warning that choosing an unelected replacement to the recently ousted Yingluck Shinawatra could send the country into “civil war.”

Taking place in the western suburbs of the capital, nearly 3,000 police were brought in to marshall pro-government protesters after it was feared violence could break out between them and anti-government groups.

The Red Shirts, the names given to those that support the current government, travelled from across the country to join together to show their ousted Prime Minister their support.

Holding pictures of the deposed Prime Minister and chanting songs in support of their Puea Thai Party, which still holds power over Thailand’s interim government, they called for an election to take place in July to decide on who will replace Shinawatra.

The rally was set up in light of the Constitutional Court's decision on Wednesday that saw the Prime Minister and nine other governmental ministers removed from their roles in government.

The decision by the court came after it was decided that Shinawatra had acted improperly when she transferred a high-ranking civil servant to a more influential position shortly after taking up her role as the country’s premier.

On Thursday, she was further embroiled in controversy when an anti-corruption agency accused her of being negligent when overseeing a rice subsidy scheme that resulted in massive losses for the country’s coffers.

Yingluck Shinawatra the Prime Minister who was ousted on Wednesday

Anti-government protesters are now calling for even wider-sweeping changes which would see more government officials removed and an unelected person selected as a replacement for the outgoing Shinawatra .

They say that a leader needs to be decided quickly to ensure that the South East Asian nation can remain stable.

The Red Shirts argue that deciding on an unelected person to replace Shinawatra would be undemocratic and that the consequences of the action could lead to a full blown civil war.

Speaking during the rally, Jatuporn Prompan, the party’s chairman said:

"The Red Shirts cannot accept the undemocratic and unconstitutional appointment of a prime minister,"

Adding: "It would be the beginning of a disaster for the country that will lead to civil war," he said.

The decision to rally by the pro-government Red Shirts comes after a week of action by those that oppose the current government and support a move to quickly replace Shinawatra with an unelected leader.

On Friday, the leader of the anti-government Yellow Shirts, Suthep Thaugsuban called out supporters to rally in Bangkok and made a speech to those that had decided to follow his calls.

During the speech he said: ““Thaksin [Shinawatra, brother of Yingluck and former Prime Minister]’s headless puppets have the nerve to appoint a new caretaker prime minister but their action is illegal

“We can almost taste victory. We won’t retreat. We are almost there.”

Today Prompan reacted to Thaugsuban with a similar statement to his Red Shirt supporters saying:  "As long as the country's democracy is not safe, we will be here."

The Puea Thai Party – the party of the ousted Prime Minister and her brother the influential former Thai PM and multi-millionaire Thaksin Shinawatra – has not been out of power since 2001 and believes a 20 July election, which it would probably win, is the solution to the current crisis.

But anti-government protesters disagree; they want the election postponed, more government ministers removed and reforms to end Shinawatra influence.

So far the king of Thailand, Bhumibol Adulyadej, who has previously stepped in to defuse previous protests between pro and anti-government, has yet to make comment on the protests.

On Thursday a grenade was thrown at the house of one of the judges that was onthe Constitutional Court that decided to remove Shinawatra as Prime Minister - no one was injured.

With both the pro and anti-government protesters having armed activists in their ranks it is feared actions like this could become more frequent and it is believed if a resolution is not reached the number of dead as a result of the protests could be added to.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Technical Author / Multimedia Writer

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This recognized leader in providing software s...

Recruitment Genius: Clinical Lead / RGN

£40000 - £42000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: IT Sales Consultant

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This IT support company has a n...

Recruitment Genius: Works Engineer

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A works engineer is required in a progressive ...

Day In a Page

Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

Iran is opening up again to tourists

After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent