Skip to main content

Protests swell in Bangkok after Thai PM survives no-confidence vote

From Kocha Olarn, CNN
November 28, 2013 -- Updated 0808 GMT (1608 HKT)
  • Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra survives a no-confidence vote in parliament
  • Protesters rally outside government offices, demanding she step down
  • Critics say Yingluck is a puppet for her brother, a former PM who was ousted in a coup
  • "The government is ready to open a space for dialogue," Yingluck says

Are you in Thailand? Send us your pictures and experiences but please stay safe.

Bangkok, Thailand (CNN) -- Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra survived a no-confidence vote in parliament Thursday, but that didn't sway the throngs of protesters denouncing her.

Even after the 297-134 vote, demonstrations swelled in Bangkok.

"The government is ready to open a space for dialogue," the embattled prime minster said in a brief televised statement after the vote. She added that officials are willing to "listen to all voices of people, including those who are still occupying the governmental offices."

But a spokesman for Yingluck's Pheu Thai Party said she would not resign or dissolve the parliament. "She will stay in power," said Prompong Nopparit.

An anti-government protester blows a whistle in front of Thai flags during a rally at Bangkok's Democracy Monument on Friday, one day after the embattled Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra survived a no-confidence vote in parliament. An anti-government protester blows a whistle in front of Thai flags during a rally at Bangkok's Democracy Monument on Friday, one day after the embattled Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra survived a no-confidence vote in parliament.
Thai protesters stage huge rallies
Thai protesters stage huge rallies Thai protesters stage huge rallies
Thousands march against Thai government
Tensions tighten in Thailand
Thailand PM defies critics

Protesters have been calling for an end to the government led by Yingluck, whose brother, Thaksin Shinawatra, is a telecommunications tycoon and former premier who was ousted in a 2006 coup.

Yingluck's critics accuse her of being Thaksin's puppet, a charge she denies.

Thaksin was a polarizing figure who was removed from power by the military in 2006, while he was in New York. Except for a brief return in 2008, he has lived in exile since then; Thai courts have convicted him of corruption and sentenced him in absentia to two years in prison.

Courts have also frozen billions of dollars of his assets, but he is believed to still have a great deal of money held elsewhere.

In recent days, thousands of protesters have ramped up pressure on the Thai government led by Thaksin's sister by surrounding government buildings. On Monday, protesters in Bangkok stormed the finance ministry building and converted it into a command center.

But the number of demonstrators, led by the opposition Democrat Party, has declined from the roughly 100,000 people who initially assembled.

READ: What's behind Thailand protests?

How it started

The current round of protests was triggered in response to a government-backed amnesty bill that could have extended a pardon to Thaksin Shinawatra and opened the door for his return to Thailand.

The Thai senate rejected the bill on November 11, but opposition demonstrators have called since then for Yingluck's government to be replaced.

Weeks of anti-government protests led by the Democrat Party culminated Sunday in a giant demonstration. At various points during the past few days, demonstrators have surrounded the foreign ministry, the agriculture ministry and the interior ministry.

Yingluck has said authorities will "absolutely not use violence" to disperse the demonstrators. But the situation is delicate after Thai police issued an arrest warrant against protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban.

On Thursday, protesters pulled down electricity wires to the National Police Headquarters.

And while these protests have been peaceful, they evoke memories of the 2010 clashes in Bangkok between security forces and Thaksin supporters who demanded his return. Some 90 people, many of them civilians, were killed.

The National Security Council said Wednesday authorities were "sticking with negotiation" and trying to persuade Suthep to surrender to authorities.

Authorities have extended the areas around Bangkok where police are enforcing an internal security law that restricts gatherings by demonstrators.

READ: Business as usual despite protests

READ: Can Thailand's first female PM heal divided nation?

CNN's Anna Coren contributed to this report.

Part of complete coverage on
Thailand's political protests
March 21, 2014 -- Updated 1354 GMT (2154 HKT)
Court rules February election breached a law requiring that the polling process be completed on the same day.
March 19, 2014 -- Updated 1007 GMT (1807 HKT)
A 60-day state of emergency imposed on Bangkok and several surrounding areas comes to an end.
February 27, 2014 -- Updated 1011 GMT (1811 HKT)
Visitors should not to wear solid red-colored clothes or buy T-shirts that say "Popcorn Army" -- the two most volatile images identifying each side.
February 25, 2014 -- Updated 0720 GMT (1520 HKT)
Thailand's army chief said the military -- one of Thailand's most powerful institutions -- would not step into the current political crisis.
February 21, 2014 -- Updated 0000 GMT (0800 HKT)
What's going on and why? CNN's explainer gives you the background story to the deadly unrest in Thailand.
February 24, 2014 -- Updated 2011 GMT (0411 HKT)
Two young children were killed in a grenade attack in Bangkok. Saima Mohsin spoke with the victims distraught family.
February 21, 2014 -- Updated 0607 GMT (1407 HKT)
The Thai government is now promising payment for rice subsidy program, after thousands of farmers rode into Bangkok on tractors to protest.
February 21, 2014 -- Updated 0000 GMT (0800 HKT)
A Thai police officer was killed after he was shot in the head during clashes Tuesday between anti-government protesters and police in Bangkok.
February 4, 2014 -- Updated 0315 GMT (1115 HKT)
After disrupting a national election, Thai anti-government protesters have vowed to keep up their campaign against the Prime Minister.
February 2, 2014 -- Updated 0255 GMT (1055 HKT)
Anti-government protesters in Thailand succeeded in getting Sunday's national elections delayed in the Bangkok district of Laksi.
February 2, 2014 -- Updated 0531 GMT (1331 HKT)
A state of emergency, streets paralyzed with protesters, the fatal shooting of a leading pro-government activist -- what's going on?
January 26, 2014 -- Updated 1623 GMT (0023 HKT)
Thai anti-government protesters shut down a polling station at the Srieam Anusorn school in Bangkok on January 26, 2014.
An anti-government protest leader was shot to death Sunday as demonstrators blocked a voting station in Bangkok, police said.
January 16, 2014 -- Updated 1148 GMT (1948 HKT)
Pacific Asia Travel Association CEO says Thailand protests, although not widespread, are impacting the tourism sector.
December 5, 2013 -- Updated 0519 GMT (1319 HKT)
Thailand's deeply revered king asked the nation to maintain the peace it has enjoyed "for a very long time" by working hand in hand.
November 27, 2013 -- Updated 1757 GMT (0157 HKT)
"We have three colors --blue white and red together -- not red, not yellow," says a protester amid anti-government demonstrations in Bangkok.
November 27, 2013 -- Updated 0418 GMT (1218 HKT)
In order to understand the turbulent world of Thai politics, you have to start with one name: Thaksin Shinawatra.