Two injured in blast at Thai protest site

Two were injured when firecracker was thrown at protesters demanding resignation of Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, who said she would not quit and make way for "neutral" interim government.

PTI| Updated: Feb 08, 2014, 18:48 PM IST

Bangkok: Two persons were injured on Saturday when a large firecracker was thrown at protesters demanding the resignation of Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, who said she would not quit and make way for a "neutral" interim government.

A protester and a security guard were injured in the blast caused by the firecracker on Chaeng Wattana Road, police said. The injured were taken to a nearby hospital.

Police said they suspected the attack was carried out to incite unrest by opponents of the People`s Democratic Reforms Committee, which has been protesting in Bangkok for months to pressure Yingluck to step down.

Protesters have been holding rallies across Bangkok and have blocked major intersections for the past three months, calling for the government to quit and an unelected People`s Council to be formed to carry out reforms.

However, Yingluck rejected a call by former finance minister M R Pridiyathorn Devakula to step down and make way for a "neutral government". She also questioned the scope of the powers a neutral government would have.
"If a (neutral) government is allowed to work and have more power, it would involve tearing up the constitution (to give it more power)," she said.
"All of us need to protect democracy and its mechanisms to keep the democratic system going."

Yingluck said the participation of 20 million voters in the February 2 snap polls spoke volumes about the public`s intent to uphold the democratic system.

Responding to a question on the opposition Democrat Party`s move to approach to a court to annul the polls, ruling Pheu Thai party secretary-general Phumtham Vejjayachai said there is no legal ground to nullify the election but the party is prepared for this possibility.

He called on the Election Commission (EC) to complete the poll process in a "show of respect" for the 20 million people who cast ballots last Sunday.

Meanwhile, the EC and the caretaker government could not agree on who should set the date for re-polls for 28 constituencies in the southern provinces.

Election Commissioner Somchai Srisuthiyakorn, who is in charge of poll management, said the EC had concluded that the caretaker government has to issue a new royal decree to set the date for holding re-polls in these constituencies.

But Minister Varathep Rattanakorn said the government could issue a royal decree only once to dissolve the House to pave the way for polls. He said it is the EC`s duty to hold re-polls.