Thai Senate faces protest call

Anti-government protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban delivers a speech during a rally at Government House in Bangkok on 11 May 2014 The protesters, led by Suthep Thaugsuban, have been trying to fell the government since November

Protesters in Thailand have called on the Senate to replace the cabinet with an appointed administration.

The protesters, who have been trying to oust the government for six months, are moving their camp close to parliament and say they will act themselves if the Senate does not.

Last week a court removed PM Yingluck Shinawatra and several ministers.

But a caretaker administration from her ruling party remains in place and says it is working towards polls in July.

Thailand has seen months of deadlock since the protest campaign began in November.

On Sunday regional bloc Asean called for a peaceful resolution to the crisis "through dialogue and in full respect of democratic principles and rule of law".

Senate talks

Over the weekend both pro and anti-government groups rallied in Bangkok, raising fears of violence.

Thailand's troubles

  • Sep 2006: Army ousts Thaksin Shinawatra
  • Dec 2007: Pro-Thaksin party wins election
  • Aug 2008: Thaksin flees Thailand
  • Dec 2008: Huge anti-Thaksin protests; court bans ruling party; Abhisit Vejjajiva comes to power
  • Mar-May 2010: Huge pro-Thaksin protests; more than 90 killed over 10-week period
  • Jul 2011: Yingluck Shinawatra elected PM
  • Nov 2013: Anti-government protests
  • Feb 2014: Snap election held, but protesters disrupt polls; court rules polls invalid
  • May 2014: PM ordered to step down

Thailand has faced a power struggle since Ms Yingluck's brother, Thaksin Shinawatra, was ousted by the military as prime minister in a 2006 coup.

Mr Thaksin and his family are hated by an urban and middle-class elite who accuse them of corruption and abuse of power.

But Mr Thaksin's policies won him huge support in rural areas, and both the elections since the coup have returned Thaksin-allied governments to power.

The current anti-government protesters want to replace Ms Yingluck's administration with an unelected "people's council" to reform the political system.

Protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban over the weekend called on the Senate to consult the presidents of Thailand's top courts and the Election Commission and appoint a new prime minister.

The Senate is due to hold a special meeting on Monday on the crisis.

It remains the only functioning part of parliament after February's snap general election - which the ruling party was expected to win - was disrupted by protesters and subsequently annulled.

Government supporters have warned that any move to replace the current caretaker administration - and its new Prime Minister Niwattumrong Boonsongpaisan - could trigger violence.

They are already angered by a court decision last week to remove Ms Yingluck over what it called the illegal transfer of her security chief.

Ms Yingluck's supporters accuse the courts of bias, pointing to previous rulings that have removed Thaksin-allied governments from power.

What remains of Ms Yingluck's administration says it will continue to work towards holding a fresh general election on 20 July.

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