|Re-energized Thai protesters tell Yingluck regime not to return to work
Thai opposition demonstrators besieged the seat of government today in defiance of authorities who have vowed to reclaim the zone this week so Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra can return to work at her headquarters, AFP reports.
The government is attempting to seize back key official buildings after more than three months of mass rallies seeking to topple Yingluck's administration.
Yingluck has been unable to use Government House for about two months.
Thousands of demonstrators, among them a hardcore group known as the Student and People Network to Reform Thailand, rallied near Government House today.
Protesters poured buckets of cement onto a sandbag wall in front of a gate to Government House, an AFP photographer said, while others manned tire barricades nearby.
“We will not let them [the government] come back to work because we do not want them,'' firebrand protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban said from a stage.
“Yingluck will never have a chance to work at the Government House again.''
On Friday riot police swept through barricades around Government House with little resistance, clearing tents and sandbags from the area.
But hours later protesters had returned and rebuilt their barricades unopposed.
As they try to clear the protests, authorities are also determined to avoid confrontation with the demonstrators, whose numbers on the street have dwindled from highs of at least tens of thousands following widely disrupted February 2 elections.
Labour Minister Chalerm Yubamrung, responsible for overseeing a state of emergency imposed in the capital, said police would take “soft measures'' to reclaim five official sites this week – including Government House – vowing to negotiate with protesters rather than “crack down''.