3 Feb 2014

Thai protesters vow no end to pressure

9:32 pm on 3 February 2014

Anti-government protesters plan to forge ahead with efforts to topple Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, a day after a disrupted election in Thailand.

The demonstrators blocked balloting in a fifth of the country's constituencies and say Mrs Yingluck must resign and make way for an appointed "people's council" to overhaul the political system.

Sunday's election, which the main opposition party boycotted, is almost certain to return the prime minister to power.

Thai protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban at a rally in Bangkok.

Thai protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban at a rally in Bangkok. Photo: AFP

However, the vote is unlikely to change the dysfunctional status quo in a country blighted by eight years of polarisation and turmoil, Reuters reports.

The election was peaceful, apart from a few scuffles, with no repeat of the chaos experienced the previous day, when supporters and opponents of Mrs Yingluck clashed in north Bangkok. Seven people were wounded by gunshots or explosions.

The protesters, led by former opposition politician Suthep Thaugsuban, have rallied in Bangkok since November to try to oust Mrs Yingluck.

They wanted electoral rules rewritten before any election and have vowed to keep up the protests.

Mr Suthep said it was premature for ministers to say the vote had gone smoothly.

"We will gather en masse in Bangkok once more but, before then, we will deal with Yingluck and other ministers. We will surround their houses until they cannot leave," he said.

However, Mr Suthep is closing protest camps at two of the seven big intersections that his supporters have blockaded since mid-January, at Victory Monument and Lat Phrao, citing security reasons. A third run by an allied group at a huge government administrative complex may also be closed.