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Thailand court issues arrest warrants for ex-PM Shinawatra, protest leaders

[JURIST] A Thai court on Tuesday issued arrest warrants for 13 leaders of anti-government protests, including former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra [BBC profile; JURIST news archive]. The warrants were issued a day after Shinawatra called for the overthrow of the Thai government [Al-Jazeera reports] by United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship protesters, who have since ended their protests [Bangkok Post report]. Current Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva [BBC profile] said that the state of emergency [JURIST report] he declared on April 11 will remain in force [Bangkok Post report] until there is a reasonable level of stability in Bangkok. He had previously lifted the state of emergency in Pattaya, but the protests there resulted in the cancellation [press release, PDF] of the Association of South-East Asian Nations summit that was scheduled to take place April 10-12. The US State Department has condemned the violence [press briefing] and urged a peaceful resolution to the protests.

Shinawatra has been at the center of several controversial events in Thailand since being overthrown in a military coup [JURIST report] in 2006. In December, the Constitutional Court of Thailand disbanded the People's Power Party [JURIST report], long associated with Shinawatra, and banned his brother-in-law, Somchai Wongsawat, from politics for five years. In October, Shinawatra was convicted on charges of corruption for the purchase of land from a government-controlled fund, and in July his wife was convicted on charges of tax evasion [JURIST reports].

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