Protest leader declares ‘Bangkok shutdown’ Jan 13


BANGKOK, Jan 2 – Protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban has announced a total seizure and shutdown of Thailand’s capital on Jan 13 in an uncompromising attempt to pressure the caretaker government to resign.

In his speech at the Democracy Monument last night, he said at least 20 stages will be set up on different locations in the capital, mainly  at intersections and major roads, which will paralyse Thailand’s main city starting at 9 am.

“This time Bangkok will be occupied for 10 to 20 days. Provincial people have 12 days to pack their belongings and travel to the capital for the prolonged battle,” said the former deputy prime minister.

“Please be careful in making your trips to Bangkok. You should travel during daytime for safety reason. Students should join the civic movement which will become another chapter in Thai history.”

Mr Suthep said anti-government protesters will march to a number of Bangkok communities on Sunday and Monday to invite people to come out in full force on Jan 13 for a peaceful and non-violent demonstration citywide.

He planned to walk with protesters on Sunday and vowed to fight until the government concedes.

The former Democrat deputy prime minister urged demonstrators to carry cameras or mobile phones to take photos in case of attacks or intimidation by the authorities during their protests.

“We do not need police protection. We only want them not to assault us,” he said, referring to an offer by Metropolitan police chief Kamronwit Thoopkrachang to provide conveniences and safety to protesters.

Mr Suthep called on television stations to report the protesters’ movement and demonstrations, claiming that there might be blackout at state-run Modernine TV (Channel 9) and Channel 11 if they insist on merely reporting the government side.

Mr Suthep, secretary general of the People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC), has led anti-government movement since Oct 31, staring with a protest against the ruling Pheu Thai Party’s proposed Amnesty Bill in Parliament.

The escalating protest later compelled the Yingluck Shinawatra government to resign and dissolve the House of Representatives, leading to a snap poll on Feb 2.

The PDRC has rejected the election unless a national reform takes place.