Tear gas fired at anti-govt protesters near Government House


BANGKOK, Dec 2 – Police fired tear gas at protesters trying to use a commandeered police vehicle to remove barriers at a bridge near Government House, while a male protester was shot in the leg and sent to hospital.

Police used volleys of tear gas for a second consecutive day to prevent anti-government protesters trying to break through the barricades at Chamai Maruchet Bridge near the government seat.

Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra was not at Government House this morning. She appeared at police headquarters in Bangkok for the first time amid tight security following rumours that she had fled the kingdom.

The premier did not speak to media trying to interview her for a response to the two-day ultimatum of the People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) that she must return ‘power to the people.’

Several ministers were at national  police headquarters today, as it has become a temporary office for the Cabinet — including deputy premiers Pracha Promnok, Surapong Tovichakchaikul, and Plodprasob Surasawadee, as well as Transport Minister Chadchart Sitthipunt and Minister to the Prime Minister’s Office Varathep Rattanakorn.

Permanent-Secretary for the Prime Minister’s Office Thongthong Chandransu said Government House is not accessible. Cabinet Secretary-General Amphon Kitti-amphon said tomorrow’s Cabinet meeting will be held as usual, but the location cannot be revealed.

In a televised address, Deputy Prime Minister/Foreign Minister Surapong Tovichakchaikul today said the prime minister assigned him to supervise the Centre for the Administration of Peace and Order (CAPO).

As protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban called on civil servants to stop working today, Mr Surapong urged state officials and state enterprise employees to return to work and that the government will lead the situation back to normal as soon as possible.

Roads around Government and Parliament were closed today to prevent any intrusion by anti-government protesters. Police have been deployed and told to take action against those who try to break into the areas.