After sustained protests in the politically unstable Bangkok, Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra pleaded Thai citizens to participate in the upcoming election and implored the anti-government protesters to give up violence. However, her emotional entreaties fell on deaf ears, with demonstrators poised to topple her.
Yingluck's eyes were full of tears when she pleaded citizens on Tuesday to clear the streets and support the snap election. The anti-government protesters who have mainly alleged Yingluck to be a puppet ruler of the ousted former PM and her brother Thaksin Shinawatra, have remained defiant and called for her to step down within 24 hours.
This comes only days after all the 153 members of the main opposition party resigned en masse in protests and a day after protesters rejected her call for a fresh round of election. Demonstrators have said that Yingluck should permanently step down and must be replaced by an unelected "people's council", a proposal that has sent shockwaves across the world. Many analysts and world leaders have feared that this could potentially mark an end of democracy in south Asia's second biggest economy.
Yingluck said that she would continue performing her duties as a "caretaker" until the election takes place, which is likely to be slated for 2 February.
"I have backed down to the point where I don't know how to back down any further," she told reporters with tears in her eyes and trying her best to remain composed and strong.
"Now that the government has dissolved parliament I ask that you stop protesting and that all sides work towards elections," she added.
In what has been one of the largest demonstrations Thailand has seen, almost 160,000 protesters gathered around Government House on Monday and over 3,000 people camped out of the building.
Analysts believe that the dissolution of parliament and calling for a fresh election may not satisfy too many protesters who intend to overthrow the entire democratic process and throw Yingluck and her family out of the country. Moreover, the new election is unlikely to ensure Yingluck's exit from the politics and the country, as she still has a huge majority of supporters in the rural areas of Thailand.
Thaksin was overthrown in a military army coup in 2006 for corruption and he is presently in a self-imposed exile. He is still thought to be an influential person in Thai politics, especially for his alleged involvement in controlling her sister, Yingluck, and influencing the government policies.
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