World

2 Thai ex-PMs acquitted of abusing power in quelling protest

Two former Thai prime ministers have been cleared of abusing their power in a case involving the quelling of an anti-government protest in 2008.

The court in Bangkok acquitted Somchai Wongsawat, his then-deputy Chavalit Yongchaiyudh and two former police officials Tuesday. A judge said the court could not conclude the injuries protesters suffered were from police weapons and grenades.

The defendants had been accused of authorizing police to use force against protesters who had blockaded the National Assembly building. A pitched battle erupted, injuring several hundred people and causing two deaths.

Somchai is the brother-in-law of Thaksin Shinawatra, the popular prime minister deposed by a 2006 coup. Thaksin's supporters see the various criminal cases against his allies as attempts to erase his influence from Thai political life.