Police predict fewer protesters at rally sites

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BANGKOK, Nov 28 – Police continued convincing demonstrators to leave the Finance Ministry but anti-government protesters announced that they would seize three more state buildings today, according to the National Police chief.

Pol Gen Adul Saengsingkaew, in his capacity as director of the Centre for Administration of Peace and Order (CAPO), said the number of protesters has gradually dwindled but their occupation of government buildings has yet to stop.

Protest leaders at the Democracy Monument announced that they plan to occupy three government complexes today, but would not disclose the locations.

Pol Gen Adul said police would not give up negotiating with the protesters to leave government property after the Civil Court refused to empower the police to remove them.

Police requested the Civil Court’s permission to force protesters from government buildings only to be turned down. The court reasoned that police have the power under the government-declared Internal Security Act.

He said the arrest of key protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban, following an arrest warrant issued by the Criminal Court Tuesday, would be made after the political tension unfolds.

CAPO spokesman Piya Uthayo said protesters blocked the entrances of several state buildings including the Energy Ministry, Information and Communication Technology Ministry, Administrative Court, Department of Special Investigation (DSI) and the Social Development and Human Security Ministry.

In the provinces, protesters carried on their rallies at town halls in Nakhon Si Thammarat, Surat Thani, Chumphon, Pang-nga, Phuket, Ranong and Krabi.

Foreign Minister Surapong Tovichakchaikul said the Consular Affairs Department on Chaeng Wattana Road was blocked, affecting passport issuance.

He said there was a blackout at the department after protesters cut electricity at the nearby DSI building.