Thai protesters vow larger rallies after poll

Bangkok. Thai protesters have vowed to stage larger rallies in central Bangkok and push ahead their efforts to nullify the results of elections held over the weekend despite disruption and protests.
Protesters vow to nullify election, step up rallies after polls marred by disruptions. Net photo.
Protesters vow to nullify election, step up rallies after polls marred by disruptions. Net photo.

Bangkok. Thai protesters have vowed to stage larger rallies in central Bangkok and push ahead their efforts to nullify the results of elections held over the weekend despite disruption and protests.

According to the national election commission, the voter turnout on Sunday was at least 46 percent. Despite fears of violence, voting proceeded peacefully in 90 percent of polling stations that were able to open.

Protesters had forced polling booths to close in Bangkok and southern Thailand, disenfranchising registered voters.

As a result, not all Parliament seats will be filled and a series of by-elections are required to complete voting, extending political paralysis for months.

After disrupting voting, protesters said they would fight the results on several grounds, including that it is required by law to be held on one day.

The opposition Democrat Party, which backs the protesters and boycotted the vote, said on Monday that it was studying other legal justifications to invalidate the election.

The struggle to hold the poll was part of a three-month-old dispute that has split the country between supporters of the prime minister, Yingluck Shinawatra, and opponents who allege her government is too corrupt to rule.

Demonstrators have occupied major intersections in Bangkok and forced government ministries to shut down and work elsewhere.

“We are not giving up the fight. We still keep fighting,” protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban said. “Our mission is to keep shutting down government offices, so don’t ask us to give those back.”

Suthep, a former opposition politician, said the movement was closing two of its Bangkok protest sites and asking crowds to consolidate at five other locations, mostly in the business centre of the capital.

Protesters have shut major intersections in the Silom and Sukhumvit business districts and Ratchaprasong shopping district, where the city’s upscale malls are located.

 

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