Thai PM Rejects Protesters' Demands

Thai PM Rejects Protesters' Demands

TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra rejected the demands of anti-government protesters who are attempting to topple her government and replace it with a people's council, saying the demonstrations are unconstitutional.

"Anything I can do to make people happy, I am willing to do... but as prime minister, what I can do must be under the constitution," she said in a televised address on Monday on her first comments since violence broke out late Saturday after weeks of peaceful protest.

Her comments came amid fresh skirmishes between Thai security forces and opposition demonstrators. Police used tear gas and water cannons at the heavily guarded government headquarters to drive thousands of protesters back, as demonstrators hurled sticks, rocks, bottles and other projectiles at security forces, manning barriers at the besieged complex.

The protesters had set Sunday as "Victory Day" to oust the government, but failed to achieve their goal of seizing the prime minister's office.

The protests, which are aimed at replacing the elected government with a "people's council", are the latest outbreak of civil strife to rock the kingdom since royalist generals overthrew Thaksin Shinawatra, the prime minister’s brother, seven years ago.

The United Nations closed its main office in Bangkok, dozens of schools stayed empty and many civil servants did not show up at work after the unrest that rippled around the key government buildings in the capital over the weekend.

In an e-mailed statement to its staff, the UN’s security department said that "there could be violence (Monday) on a large scale… staff should avoid government offices'' and other protest locations.

Al Jazeera's Robert Kennedy, reporting from Bangkok, says that a group of protesters about 200 metres away from the government office claimed live ammunition was fired earlier in the day, showing photos of a man with what looked like a gunshot wound to the thigh, and what it looks like to be a like bullet hole that had pierced a silver truck.

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