Destinations Asia

Thai Anti-Democracy Protestors Promise to Shut Down Bangkok

Jan 02, 2014 11:30 am

Athit Perawongmetha  / Reuters

Anti-government protesters gather during mass rally in Bangkok. Athit Perawongmetha / Reuters


Protesters in Bangkok are hoping to “shut down” the city from January 13 in order to scupper plans for a general election.

The move, by anti-government protestors wanting to oust Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, comes during Thailand’s peak holiday period and is likely to discourage tourists from visiting.

The announcement has led Thai security agencies to consider declaring a state of emergency.

Paradorn Pattanatabut, national security council chief, told Reuters: “The situation has intensified. We may need to call for tougher measures and security agencies have planned for that.”

The shut down may last anything from five to 20 days and will be round the clock. Targets of the shut down are rally sites such as road intersections and the Victory Monument, one of the city’s main transport hubs, as demonstrators attempt to bring gridlock to the centre.

“On Jan 13, no government affairs will be carried out from that day on,” said protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban in a speech reported in the Bangkok Post. He also vowed that victory over the government would be achieved this month.

Yingluck dissolved the Thai government on December 9, in response to days of protests, but a proposed election in February which she is very likely to win, has served only to fuel concerns about military intervention or legal paralysis.

Protests on December 26 became violent when a hard core group of demonstrators tried to invade an election registration centre. A policeman and a demonstrator were shot and killed, while scores were wounded.

Demonstrators accuse Yingluck of being the puppet of her self-exiled brother, former premier Thaksin Shinawatra.

The Prime Minister is clinging on, asserting her democratic mandate from an election landslide in 2011, but protesters backed by Bangkok’s royalist establishment, the opposition Democrat Party and old-money families are demanding she resigns to allow an appointed “people’s council” to take over, Reuters reports.

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