Protesters don white masks in anti-government rally

Featured Politics South East Asia - June 24th, 2013

A sea of white masks surged through the streets of Thailand as thousands of people gathered to protest against the government of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra.

In Bangkok on Sunday, hundreds of protesters, mostly wearing white masks, gathered in the city’s shopping district and demanded the ousting of Yingluck, whose administration has come under criticism and accused of corruption. She is widely seen as the puppet of her older brother, former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra.

‘V for Thailand’, which organized Sunday’s rally, said the movement is aimed at “eradicating the Thaksin regime”.

Several establishments in the district, including the CentralWorld department store and the Bangkok Art and Culture Center, were cordoned off. Although protesters removed the barriers, the protests had been “peaceful”, Deputy Metropolitan police chief Parinya Jansuriya told AFP.

A number of protest groups against the government have sprung up in recent months, highlighting the political divisions in the kingdom.

While anti-government protests have been spearheaded by the pro-monarchy ‘Yellow Shirts’, ‘V for Thailand’ said it also has strong support in many provinces.

Thailand is still recovering from bloody clashes between anti-Thaksin and pro-monarchy ‘Yellow Shirts’ and pro-Thaksin ‘Red Shirts’ in 2010. The crackdown on ‘Red Shirt’ protests by security forces left about 90 people dead and hundreds wounded.