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Shutting Down Bangkok

Protest teams to target PM's residence and state agencies

A group of fast-moving protest teams would be dispatched today to lay siege to caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra's residence as well as state agencies that remain in operation, People's Democratic Reform Committee secretary general Suthep Thaugsuban said.

Suthep has told the PDRC he would ensure that Bangkok is fully shut down before it declares victory. He said protesters would not break into Yingluck's house, just sit on the road outside.

"From today, we believe that the government will resort to violence. After we accomplish this mission, we will declare our victory again,'' he said.

Another PDRC leader, Satit Wongnongtaey, the former Democrat MP for Trang, said apart from Yingluck, the group would pressure all deputy PMs and other Cabinet ministers to quit. He refused to elaborate on how he plans to achieve that mission but said junior coalition parties would be spared from pressure to resign.

The PDRC has decided to dismantle its rally sites at Lat Phrao and Victory Monument, reasoning that those locations were easy targets for attacks. Protesters from the two sites will shift to the Lumpini Park site, which can cater for thousands of protesters and will be upgraded as the main rally site. Pathumwan rally site outside MBK shopping centre was earlier its main site.

Suthep said on Sunday he would let Luang Pu Buddha Issara decide on whether to dismantle the rally site at Chaeng Wattana and let protesters join other stages, which include Asoke and Ratchaprasong rally sites.

Some parts of the Government Complex in Chaeng Wattana will open some services for people from today, as the protesting monk reached an agreement on this yesterday with the Justice Ministry's deputy permanent secretary Thawatchai Thaikeo.

Building A of the complex will open only one of its back doors so officials can work - and people who want to contact government agencies. Some 150 military officers will provide security for this area, according to Kristwit Wiyaporn, commander of the 5th Anti-Aircraft Artillery Battalion.

Thawatchai said more than 1,500 Justice Ministry officials would come to work to provide services for the public and he expected 200 people may want to contact the ministry each day.

But Monk Buddha Issara warned he would shut down the complex again if there was violence against the protesters.

Suthep yesterday took three hours to lead protesters on a 14-kilometre march from Lat Phrao to Victory Monument and the rally site at Lumpini (which some have called Silom or Sala Daeng).

Meanwhile, hundreds of PDRC protesters laid siege to the permanent secretary of Defence's office on Chaeng Wattana Road, which Yingluck and some of her Cabinet have used as a temporary office. The protesters called on Yingluck to quit and for General Nipat Thonglek, the permanent secretary of Defence, to withdraw his support to the government.

PDRC leader Buddhipongse Punnakanta told soldiers guarding the office yesterday that Yingluck and her Cabinet would be given 15 minutes to leave the compound. After the deadline past, soldiers told him that Yingluck was taking the stairs down from the tenth floor because the elevator was out.

Some cars and vans then left the compound's back gate but none was a vehicle that the PM usually travels in. Buddhipongse then ordered protesters to sit on the road to block an entrance and exit to the compound. Chaeng Wattana Road was heavy with traffic due to the protest and a ceremony to present degrees at Rangsit University. Roads around the permanent secretary's office had been off-limits to traffic.


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