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Anti-govt protesters start Bangkok Shutdown
BANGKOK, Jan 13 - Thailand's anti-government protesters from the People's Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) have begun occupying major intersections and closed roads under the Bangkok Shutdown campaign to pressure caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra to resign.
The protesters have set up eight stages at seven intersections announced earlier at Pathumwan, Ratchaprasong, Asoke, Saladaeng (Lumphini), Victory Monument closing all roads near the roundabout, Lat Phrao 5-way intersection and at Chaengwattana where two stages have been built.
The main rally site at Democracy Monument will remain intact, and will not be dismantled as planned earlier.
Protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban, PDRC secretary general, at 9am led protesters marching from the Democracy Monument to Ratchathewi, Pathumwan, Ratchaprasong and will end their march at Asoke.
The protester groups also planned to go to the Labour and Foreign Ministries and the National Police Bureau headquarters.
PDRC's Bangkok Shutdown is meant to paralyse the capital to pressure the caretaker premier to resign, opening the way for political reform before the general election.
Mr Suthep asserted that the protesters are going to state offices, but won't intrude into buildings. They will stay overnight only at the main stage in Chaengwattana.
The protest leader said the city shutdown will continue indefinitely. he said he would not negotiate anything or accept any proposals from the government, be they poll delay-related or on other matters. The protest leader said he was confident that all protest sites will be safe as each site has a key protest leader supervising the crowd.
Meanwhile, caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra chaired a security assessment meeting with key ministers at the Office of the Permanent Secretary for Defence in Muang Thong Thani on the outskirts of Bangkok. Among those attending the meeting were caretaker deputy premiers Surapong Tovichakchaikul, Pracha Promnog, Niwatthamrong Boonsongpaisan, caretaker Information and Communication Technology Minister Anudith Nakornthap and Department of Special Investigation director general Tarit Pengdith.
The Stock Exchange of Thailand executives are discussing putting a contingency plan into effect as the anti-government protesters of the Network of Students and People for Reform of Thailand (NSPRT) reportedly threatened to seize the bourse if the caretaker premier won't resign by Wednesday.
The Bank of Thailand has relocated it staff to work at an alternative workplace today.
Gold Traders' Association president Jitti Tangsitthipakdi said more than 100 goldshops in Yaowarat (Chinatown) and adjacent areas were already closed as a safety precaution as most customers and staff are unable to travel to the area. However, online gold future trade is functioning normally. (MCOT online news)
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