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Protesters in Thailand have forced their way into the army headquarters, as anti-government rallies entered a sixth day. More protesters gathered outside ruling party headquarters, as part of efforts to force the government to step down.
On Thursday, Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra urged demonstrators to end the street protests, after surviving a no-confidence vote in parliament. But protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban has rejected her appeal. “We will not let them work anymore,” the former senior opposition lawmaker said in a speech late on Thursday.
At the army headquarters in Bangkok, “protesters slammed opened the gate and are now in the army headquarters”, a military spokeswoman was quoted by Agence-France Presse news agency as saying. She added that the army chief was not in his office at the time.
Meanwhile security was tightened around the ruling Pheu Thai party headquarters.
“We are deploying two companies of police [around 300 officers] at Pheu Thai party headquarters after they asked for protection,” deputy national police chief Worapong Siewpreecha told AFP news agency. ‘No political games’
Demonstrators have been surrounding and briefly occupying official buildings this week in an attempt to disrupt the government
During the demonstrations, which have been largely peaceful so far, participants have cut the electricity supply to the national police headquarters and forced the evacuation of Thailand’s top crime-fighting agency.
The protesters say Ms Yingluck’s government is controlled by her brother, exiled former leader Thaksin Shinawatra.
Ms Yingluck has invoked special powers allowing curfews and road closures, and police have also ordered the arrest of Mr Suthep – but so far no move has been made to detain him.
In a televised address on Thursday, Ms Yingluck said the protesters should negotiate with the government. “The government doesn’t want to enter into any political games because we believe it will cause the economy to deteriorate,” she said.
An estimated 100,000 opposition supporters protested in Bangkok on Sunday, although the numbers appear to have dropped significantly during the week. Some reports expect turnout to rise again over the weekend.
The country is facing its largest protests since 2010, when thousands of “red-shirt” Thaksin supporters occupied key parts of the capital. More than 90 people, mostly civilian protesters, died over the course of the two-month sit-in.
Motorists are warned to avoid Phetburi road near the Asoke Phetburi intersection as now several hundreds of anti-Thaksin demonstrators are gathering at Charn Issra Tower on Phetburi before marching to the office of the ruling Pheu Thai party on the same road to voice opposition to its current movement to defy the Constitution Court and its push for the amnesty bill.