|Police tear down Bangkok barricades, but protesters regroup
Thousands of riot police were deployed in the Thai capital Bangkok to clear areas occupied for weeks by opposition protesters seeking to force Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra from office.
The operation marked an unexpected shift in tactics by the embattled government, which has allowed the protesters to camp out at locations around Bangkok.
Police met little resistance as they re-took areas around Government House, which Yingluck had been unable to use for about two months, according to AFP reporters.
Security forces removed protesters' tents and tore down their makeshift defenses built from barbed wire, sandbags and piles of rubber tyres. Police warned demonstrators through a loudspeaker not to resist.
But it was unclear if the operation was a success as demonstrators were later seen rebuilding barricades after police withdrew.
Labor Minister Chalerm Yubamrung, who oversaw the operation, said officials would return to work at Government House on Monday.
He said sling-shots, illegal drugs and bomb-making materials were found at the rally site.
“Protesters – you should return home,'' Chalerm said in a televised national address from the government headquarters.
“If you're still stubborn we will gently enforce the law,'' he added. “The police are ready to disperse protesters but the prime minister told us not to use force to avoid loss of life.''
There were no reports of serious clashes.