Bangkok Braces for Protests
Thousands of protesters who call themselves the “Red Shirts” have begun arriving in Thailand’s capital city of Bangkok in time for Sunday’s protests aimed at forcing the government to call an election. The protesters want Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva to step down, dissolve the government, and call an early election.
Leaders of the “Red Shirts,” who are supportive of former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra vowed that the protests would be peaceful. They also promised to disperse immediately as soon as their demands are met. The protesters, who are mostly from the poor northern regions of the country, are accusing the government of being elitist. Calls for Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajive to step down started to grow after the Thai Supreme Court ordered Thaksin to return more than $ 1 billion in allegedly ill-gotten wealth.
The government has deployed more than 50,000 police officers and set up numerous check points around Bangkok to ensure that no violence would occur. Protest organizers estimate that around 600,000 people will troop to the streets of Bangkok, but police believe less than 100,000 would join the rallies.