'Shutdown Bangkok': Thai protesters block roads to force resignation of Prime Minister

Demonstrators also plan to occupy government buildings and even cut off electricity supplies to force the prime minister's resigantion

Asia Correspondent

Thousands of anti-government protesters have descended on Bangkok in an attempt to shut down the city and force the resignation of Thailand's prime minister.

Demonstrators have blocked a number of major intersections in the city as they try to make Bangkok ungovernable and force Yingluck Shinawatra to leave. They are planning to occupy government buildings and even cut off electricity supplies.

Reports said that as thousands of protesters took up positions on Monday the police allowed them to do so. The authorities have said they do not intend to use force to try and resist the protesters in order to try and avoid sparking violence.

The stand-off is the latest twist in an eight-year conflict that has pitted opponents of former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra against those who support him.

The two sides cannot be neatly pigeon-holed but supporters of Mr Thaksin have tended to be rural Thais, especially from the north and east, and some elements of Bangkok's working class. On the other side is a combination of middle-class Bangkok residents, former army officers and elements of the so-called establishment that surrounds the Thai royal family.

Mr Thaksin was ousted by the military in 2006 and sentenced to jail in absentia for abuse of power in 2008. But from his base in Dubai, he still retains huge influence over Thai politics. His younger sister, Yingluck, was elected to power in 2011. In a concession to demonstrators - and in an attempt to cement her mandate - she has called new elections for February 2.

Eight people, including two police officers, have been killed and scores wounded in violence between protesters, police and government supporters since the campaign against Ms Yingluck's Pheu Thai party-led government started in November last year.

The Reuters news agency, said shootings were reported overnight near a government administrative complex that protesters began to blockade late on Sunday and at the headquarters of the opposition Democrat Party, which has thrown in its lot with the protest movement.

The protests are being led by 64-year-old Suthep Thaugsuba, a former deputy prime minister, who has had murder charges levelled against him for his role in a 2010 crackdown on pro-Thaksin supporters that left more than 90 people dead.

Mr Suthep stood down last year from his position with the Democrat party to lead the protests. He and the protesters have rejected Ms Yingluck's proposal of fresh election, saying Thailand's political system needs reform before any election is meaningful.

Analysts say the protesters have rejected electoral politics following a series of defeats at the polls. 

Mr Suthep's stated goal is to eradicate the influence of the Shinawatra family on Thai politics. He says Mr Thaksin and his family are guilty of corruption and nepotism. He has said he would call off the protests if widespread violence breaks out and country appears set for civil war.

Voices
On the last day of campaigning before the polling booths open, the SNP leader has written to voters in a final attempt to convince them to vote for independence
scotland decidesIs a huge gamble on oil keeping First Minister up at night?
Arts and Entertainment
Rosalind Buckland, the inspiration for Cider with Rosie died this week
booksBut what is it like to be the person who inspires a classic work of art?
Life and Style
techApple has just launched its latest mobile operating software – so what should you do first?
News
A male driver reverses his Vauxhall Astra from a tow truck
newsThe 'extremely dangerous' attempt to avoid being impounded has been heavily criticised
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
Lionel Messi in action for Barcelona
filmSo what makes the little man tick?
Arts and Entertainment
tvReview: An undercooked end (spoiler alert)
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell dismissed the controversy surrounding
musicThe singer said 'the last thing I want to do is degrade'
Sport
Cesc Fabregas celebrates his first Chelsea goal
footballChelsea vs Schalke match report
Arts and Entertainment
Toby Jones (left) and Mackenzie Crook in BBC4’s new comedy The Detectorists
tvMackenzie Crook's 'Detectorists' makes the hobby look 'dysfunctional', they say
Life and Style
fashion

Olympic diver has made his modelling debut for Adidas

News
i100
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Maths Teacher

£110 - £200 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Secondary Maths Teacher for spe...

Maths Teacher

£90 - £160 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Secondary Science Teacher (mater...

Maths Teacher

£110 - £200 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Secondary Maths Teacher for an ...

Maths Teacher

£22000 - £37000 per annum: Randstad Education Leeds: A West Yorkshire School i...

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week