The People’s Democratic Reform Committee protest group had begun its “Bangkok Shutdown” protests, which would last a month to force out Thailand Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra from her position. Human rights groups ask authorities to respect human rights at all times due to the higher likelihood of violence.
The protesters plan to close seven main intersections in Bangkok, surrounding the houses of the Prime Minister and ministers part of the current government, and cutting off the electricity and water supplies at the locations and government offices.
The conflict in Thailand that started in November 2013 had killed eight people and injured 470 people. According to human rights groups, violence could erupt again in the city as the shutdown.
Amnesty International Asia-Pacific deputy Director Isabelle Arradon said, “The situation in Thailand is tense, volatile and unpredictable, there is a real risk of loss of life and injury unless human rights are fully respected.”
She added that “Security forces should ensure that the right to peaceful protest is upheld – however, they also have a duty to protect the safety of the public. When carrying out their work, law enforcement officials should apply non-violent means before resorting to the use of force and always exercise restraint in its use.”
Thailand Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra dissolved the nation’s parliament in December and had called for fresh elections in February 2. She recently survived a confidence vote in Parliament and her call had done little to cool down the situation.
The protests began after the Prime Minister made a law that would allow her exiled brother to return to the country without any trouble, sparking the ire of the opposition and the public.