Thai protesters storm army offices, demand help to overthrow government

Thailand PM survives no confidence vote
Thailand PM survives no confidence vote

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Thailand PM survives no confidence vote 06:27

Story highlights

  • The protesters jumped over the gate to the front of the building
  • Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra survived a no-confidence vote in parliament Thursday
  • But throngs of protesters are seeking her ouster

Hundreds of protesters stormed army headquarters in Bangkok on Friday to demand help overthrowing the government, a military spokesman said.

The protesters jumped over the gate to the front of the building.

Thousands march against Thai government
Thousands march against Thai government

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    Thousands march against Thai government

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Thousands march against Thai government 01:34
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Tensions tighten in Thailand
Tensions tighten in Thailand

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    Tensions tighten in Thailand

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Tensions tighten in Thailand 04:14
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Thailand PM defies critics
Thailand PM defies critics

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Thailand PM defies critics 03:02
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Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra survived a no-confidence vote in parliament Thursday, but throngs of protesters are seeking her ouster.

"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," Prompong Nopparit said.

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 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.

The current round of protests started as a 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.

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.