Bangkok Shutdown: Thousands of Anti-Government Protesters Hit Streets

Wednesday, 15 Jan 2014 09:51 AM

By Morgan Chilson

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Thousands of protesters swarmed the streets of Bangkok, Thailand, blockings intersections and sleeping in the streets, CNN reported.

There were as many as 160,000 protesters out during the day, according to initial estimates. About 60,000 spent the night in Bangkok streets. The protesters vowed to force PM Yingluck Shinawatra out of office, CNN reported.

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Shinawatra has offered to talk to protesters to reach some kind of agreement.

The protest, which so far has occurred without any serious incidents, is being called the “Bangkok Shutdown.” It is led by Suthep Thaugsuban, who previously served as deputy prime minister for the Democrat party.

Monday was the first day of the protest and most schools were closed as protesters blocked intersections and caused traffic issues.

Reuters reported that protesters are threatening the country’s stock markets. Suthep told protesters they must close every government office.

"If we cannot, we will restrict the movements of the prime minister and other ministers,” Suthep said. “We will start by cutting water and electricity to their homes. I suggest they evacuate their children.”

The disagreements, which have been on-going for about eight years, pit Yingluck’s rural and poorer supporters against the country’s middle-class and royalist community.

Although the protest has been relatively peaceful so far, international organizations say that it may escalate.

“As anti-government protesters intensify actions, the risk of violence across wide swathes of the country is growing and significant,” an International Crisis Group (ICG) think-tank report read.

Photos of the Thailand protests showed up on social media, as did unverified reports of gunshots and violence.

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