Turmoil in Thailand as supporters of ousted prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra warn that installing an unelected leader could lead to 'civil war'

Supporters of the ousted Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra warned yesterday that installing an unelected leader, a demand of anti-government protesters that has helped to drive months of unrest in which dozens have been killed, could lead to "civil war".

Tens of thousands lined the streets of Bangkok for the protest by the pro-government supporters – their first since Ms Yingluck was ousted last week, along with nine other ministers.

Jatuporn Prompan, a leader of the pro-government protests, warned that putting in place an unelected prime minister would "create a serious crisis that could lead to a civil war that no one wants to see".

The rally comes after anti-government protesters ramped up their efforts to bring down what remains of Ms Yingluck's administration on Friday.

They laid siege to television stations, surrounded state offices and demanded officials help them to install a non-elected prime minister to rule the country – having been given fresh impetus by the Constitutional Court ruling that dismissed Ms Yingluck.

Police fired tear gas and water cannons to push back hundreds of anti-government demonstrators who attempted to force their way into the government's security agency, leaving at least a dozen injured.

"Although it is hot out here, our anger is hotter. We are boiling with anger. I am ready to give this fight everything I've got," said Sombat Thammasuk, 44, a "red shirt" supporter of Ms Yingluck.

A government security official said about 50,000 people had joined the rally and more were expected. Gathering under a sweltering sun, many said they were prepared to stay for days to press for an election, which a caretaker government is working towards holding on 20 July. Ms Yingluck's cabinet has named deputy premier Niwattumrong Boonsongpaisan as acting prime minister.

Anti-government supporters were also out on the streets again yesterday. Tension mounted as police prepared to keep the two sides separated for fear of confrontations which have, in the past, become violent, with at least 25 dead and hundreds injured since demonstrations over the government began last November.

Thailand's politicians have been unable to forge a compromise over a nearly decade-long split between the royalist establishment and the influence of a populist former telecommunications tycoon, Thaksin Shinawatra, sister of Ms Yingluck, who was ousted in a military coup in 2006.

The leader of the anti-government protest movement, Suthep Thaugsuban, said yesterday that Mr Niwattumrong "doesn't hold the authority and status to be the head of the government."

"The caretaker government is unlawful, which means at this stage Thailand has no real government," Mr Suthep told reporters at a rally.

Mr Suthep called his supporters out on to Bangkok's streets for what he says will be a final push to get the government out. He said the Senate should "quickly consult the presidents of the Supreme Court, the Constitutional Court, the Supreme Administrative Court and the Election Commission to work to appoint the new prime minister immediately."

He then wants to install a "people's council" to oversee reforms aimed at excluding Mr Thaksin from politics. Mr Thaksin lives in self-imposed exile to avoid a jail term handed down in 2008 for corruption, but has been a major influence over his sister's government. The group has already disrupted elections that were held back in February.

The unrest in the country has led to foreign investment in South-east Asia's second-biggest economy plummeting, and tourism has waned as the situation has rumbled on.

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: Personal Tax Senior

£28000 - £37000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...

Recruitment Genius: Customer and Markets Development Executive

£22000 - £29000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company's mission is to ma...

Recruitment Genius: Guest Services Assistant

£13832 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This 5 star leisure destination on the w...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Account Manager

£20000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Account Manager is requ...

Day In a Page

A nap a day could save your life - and here's why

A nap a day could save your life

A midday nap is 'associated with reduced blood pressure'
If men are so obsessed by sex, why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?

If men are so obsessed by sex...

...why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?
The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3

Jon Thoday and Richard Allen-Turner

The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3
The bathing machine is back... but with a difference

Rolling in the deep

The bathing machine is back but with a difference
Part-privatised tests, new age limits, driverless cars: Tories plot motoring revolution

Conservatives plot a motoring revolution

Draft report reveals biggest reform to regulations since driving test introduced in 1935
The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

BBC heads to the Californian coast

The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

Car hacking scandal

Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
10 best placemats

Take your seat: 10 best placemats

Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory