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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Ex-Premier's Party Banned in Thailand

BANGKOK, Thailand -- Several hundred die-hard supporters of ousted Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra protested Thursday against a stunning court ruling that banned his party and barred 110 of its leaders from politics for five years.

Wearing yellow headbands that read, "Coup leaders, get out," the group shouted and cheered every time Thaksin's name was mentioned.

Some 150 policemen and bomb squad teams with dogs were deployed in the area near the Royal Plaza, in the heart of historical Bangkok, where the demonstrators had hoped to rally.

Army commander General Sonthi Boonyaratglin said security had been beefed up throughout the Thai capital and would remain so until it was clear that there would be no violent protests.

"We will have to watch the situation closely since there may be hard-core and ill-intended third parties joining protests, which might push the situation out of control," he said.

The Thai Rak Thai party was found guilty by the Constitutional Tribunal on Wednesday of financing obscure parties to run against it in last year's elections to get around rules requiring a minimum voter turnout.

Party leader Chaturon Chaisaeng said Thursday that a new Thai Rak Thai would try to register under the same name while its banned leaders will attempt to carry on their political activity.

The decision against Thai Rak Thai came hours after the Democrat Party, a bitter rival of Thaksin's party, was found not guilty of election law violations.