Thailand’s government was forced to change the venue of its key policy speech today as thousands of demonstrators loyal to exiled former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra surrounded Parliament, extending months of political turmoil.
Several hundred protesters also blocked the Foreign Ministry, where the government and lawmakers moved to deliver the policy statement. As proceedings began inside, police and protesters confronted each other. Some ministry staffers were seen climbing small ladders to get over a fence to flee the compound.
The standoff comes less than a month after the last government was forced from office following six months of demonstrations that culminated in the eight-day seizure of Bangkok’s two main airports. The earlier protesters had been part of an anti-Thaksin alliance.
President resigns amid power void
Somalia’s president resigned Monday after a four-year term in which his Western-backed government failed to extend its power in a country crippled by infighting and a strengthening Islamic insurgency.
Abdullahi Yusuf’s resignation, which comes amid deepening international pressure, could usher in more chaos as Islamic militants scramble for power – even though the government controls only pockets of the capital, Mogadishu, and the seat of parliament in Baidoa.
Within hours, mortar shells slammed into the streets near the presidential palace in Mogadishu.
Ex-president sent back to jail
A Taiwan court ordered former President Chen Shui-bian returned to jail today pending trial on corruption charges, accepting prosecutors’ arguments that he be locked up to prevent him fleeing or colluding with alleged co-conspirators.
The court’s move reversed its previous ruling that Chen could remain free while preparations for his trial go forward.
Chen was indicted earlier this month on charges of embezzling a presidential fund and accepting bribes during his eight years in office.