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Thailand court orders protesters to open entrances to government building

[JURIST] A Thai court on Tuesday ordered demonstrators to allow limited access to Thailand's seat of government in response to a complaint filed by the Office of Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva [BBC profile]. The Bangkok Civil Court issued an injunction [Bangkok Post report] ordering protesters to remove road blocks which had been erected to block access to Government House. Red-shirted members of the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD), a group linked to exiled former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra [BBC profile; JURIST news archive], have been surrounding the compound since last week in a bid to oust Abhisit. A UDD spokesman urged supporters to ignore the order pending an appeal, while Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban warned [Reuters report] on Monday that "the injunction would grant a legal justification for us to enforce entry," suggesting that protesters could be arrested prior to completion of an appeal.

Abhisit took over as prime minister in December, after the Constitutional Court of Thailand [official website, in Thai] ordered the dissolution [JURIST report] of the ruling People's Power Party (PPP) [party website, in Thai], and banned then-prime minister Somchai Wongsawat [Nation profile] from politics for five years as the result of an election fraud investigation. Thaksin, ousted as prime minister [JURIST report] in a 2006 military coup, was convicted on corruption charges [JURIST reports] by the Supreme Court of Thailand in October.

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