Bangkok braces for weekend riots

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Army veteran General Boonlert Kaewprasit leads the anti-government protests in Bangkok

Investor confidence could be severely shaken in Thailand when a planned anti-government demonstration will take place on November 24 in Bangkok’s government district.

The demonstration is organised by royalist Pitak Siam Group led by army veteran Boonlert Kaewprasit, a anti-government movement that wants to topple the current Pheu Thai party-led coalition government under Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra.

Bangkok police say they expect around 80,000 to 100,000 protesters showing up at the Royal Plaza in the area near Bangkok’s government house in Dusit district – Pitak Siam members as well as Yellow Shirt Democrat Party supporters. According to reports, a large group of Red Shirt Pheu Thai party supporters is also expected at the scene, which could lead to open clashes between the two fractions. Red Shirt members will also be staging protests in Samut Prakan and Chiang Mai, a Shinawatra stronghold.

As a precautionary measure, the Thai cabinet has decided to impose the Internal Security Act in three districts of Bangkok from November 22 until November 30, namely in Dusit, Phra Nakhon and Pomprap Sattruphai.

The Internal Security Act allows the country’s top security agency, the Internal Security Operations Command, to impose curfews, operate checkpoints and restrict the movement of demonstrators if protests turn violent.

In any case security forces are on high alert. According to local media reports, up to 50,000 security and crowd control police will be deployed in the area. There have been reports that the protesters are planning to take  the prime minister hostage.

The Thai military has reaffirmed not to join the anti-government rally,  as it could be interpreted as a coup attempt.

Observers warned that if the rally is prolonged and turns violent, it could severely hurt the country’s economy and shake investor confidence in Thailand.

Thanavath Phonvichai, director of the Economic and Business Forecasting Centre at the University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce, warned of dire economic consequences if Thailand is plunged back into political violence, according to the Bangkok Post.

The tourism sector, he said, would be severely affected and economic growth for 2012 would be lower than 4.5 per cent, compared with 5.5 per cent forecast now. Foreign investment inflow would decrease. If there was any change in the government or the Yingluck Shinawatra administration decided to dissolve the House of Representatives, it would broadly affect economic policies and investor confidence, Thanavath said.

Police denied that the rally would disturb Thai and foreign businessmen or investor confidence, because it would take place only in districts which are no important economic zones. It was also denied that local business lobbying groups have allegedly raised 6 billion baht ($200 million) in funds to be used to topple the Yingluck Shinawatra government.

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Reading Time: 2 minutes

Army veteran General Boonlert Kaewprasit leads the anti-government protests in Bangkok

Investor confidence could be severely shaken in Thailand when a planned anti-government demonstration will take place on November 24 in Bangkok’s government district.

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Army veteran General Boonlert Kaewprasit leads the anti-government protests in Bangkok

Investor confidence could be severely shaken in Thailand when a planned anti-government demonstration will take place on November 24 in Bangkok’s government district.

The demonstration is organised by royalist Pitak Siam Group led by army veteran Boonlert Kaewprasit, a anti-government movement that wants to topple the current Pheu Thai party-led coalition government under Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra.

Bangkok police say they expect around 80,000 to 100,000 protesters showing up at the Royal Plaza in the area near Bangkok’s government house in Dusit district – Pitak Siam members as well as Yellow Shirt Democrat Party supporters. According to reports, a large group of Red Shirt Pheu Thai party supporters is also expected at the scene, which could lead to open clashes between the two fractions. Red Shirt members will also be staging protests in Samut Prakan and Chiang Mai, a Shinawatra stronghold.

As a precautionary measure, the Thai cabinet has decided to impose the Internal Security Act in three districts of Bangkok from November 22 until November 30, namely in Dusit, Phra Nakhon and Pomprap Sattruphai.

The Internal Security Act allows the country’s top security agency, the Internal Security Operations Command, to impose curfews, operate checkpoints and restrict the movement of demonstrators if protests turn violent.

In any case security forces are on high alert. According to local media reports, up to 50,000 security and crowd control police will be deployed in the area. There have been reports that the protesters are planning to take  the prime minister hostage.

The Thai military has reaffirmed not to join the anti-government rally,  as it could be interpreted as a coup attempt.

Observers warned that if the rally is prolonged and turns violent, it could severely hurt the country’s economy and shake investor confidence in Thailand.

Thanavath Phonvichai, director of the Economic and Business Forecasting Centre at the University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce, warned of dire economic consequences if Thailand is plunged back into political violence, according to the Bangkok Post.

The tourism sector, he said, would be severely affected and economic growth for 2012 would be lower than 4.5 per cent, compared with 5.5 per cent forecast now. Foreign investment inflow would decrease. If there was any change in the government or the Yingluck Shinawatra administration decided to dissolve the House of Representatives, it would broadly affect economic policies and investor confidence, Thanavath said.

Police denied that the rally would disturb Thai and foreign businessmen or investor confidence, because it would take place only in districts which are no important economic zones. It was also denied that local business lobbying groups have allegedly raised 6 billion baht ($200 million) in funds to be used to topple the Yingluck Shinawatra government.

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