Thai anti-government protesters rally at police HQ

Wednesday 04 December 2013 10.37
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Protesters returned to their bases after police were ordered to stand down
Protesters returned to their bases after police were ordered to stand down
Street cleaners on the streets of Bangkok after protests dispersed
Street cleaners on the streets of Bangkok after protests dispersed
Thailand's military chiefs have said they will not intervene
Thailand's military chiefs have said they will not intervene
Police and army personnel rest after they were ordered to allow protesters into the state agencies
Police and army personnel rest after they were ordered to allow protesters into the state agencies
Protesters used a bulldozer to break down barriers outside Government House
Protesters used a bulldozer to break down barriers outside Government House
Protesters claimed a temporary victory in the demonstrations and have vowed to fight on
Protesters claimed a temporary victory in the demonstrations and have vowed to fight on

Protesters in Thailand trying to bring down the government have rallied at national police headquarters and their leader said the fight would go on despite efforts to defuse the crisis.

Thailand's military, which has staged or attempted 18 coups in the past 80 years, has kept its distance from the latest turmoil.

The country’s navy chief said he and his top armed forces colleagues had ruled out intervening as the situation was returning to normal.

After days of violence, the government took the heat out of the confrontation on the streets yesterday, telling police to step aside and let protesters into state agencies they had besieged in their bid to bring down the government.

The demonstrators returned to their Bangkok bases but said the fight was not over.

Protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban said there would be a pause tomorrow out of respect for the 86th birthday of King Bhumibol Adulyadej, who is adored by many Thais.

But the campaign would continue right after that, he said.

Addressing concerns that the army might step in, navy chief Admiral Narong Pipathanasai said he and the heads of the army and air force had met to discuss the situation and they had no intention of intervening.

Police estimated nearly 3,000 protesters had gathered outside police HQ by mid-morning, a relatively small crowd compared with numbers over the past week or two.

The main road in front was closed but upmarket shopping malls in the area were open.

Hundreds of protesters still occupy the Finance Ministry and a big administrative centre in the north of the capital but government is carrying on, with Ms Yingluck meeting economic ministers at her office at Government House, which had to be defended with teargas and water cannon this week.

Government spokesman Teerat Ratanasevi told reporters that Ms Yingluck had asked Finance Minister Kittirat na Ranong and economic agencies to draw up measures to boost investment, create jobs and restore confidence.

"They will be announced in the last week of the year or early 2014 as a present for the Thai people," he said.

Keywords: bangkok, thailand