Bangkok ‘shutdown’ sees dwindling numbers

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iol pic wld_THAILAND-PROTEST-_0116_11 REUTERS An anti-government protester gestures during a protest march next to a government office in central Bangkok on January 16, 2014. Picture: Nir Elias

 

Bangkok - Anti-government protesters marched on government offices on Thursday on the fourth day of a “Bangkok shutdown” campaign that is showing signs of flagging support.

The protesters, which have occupied seven intersections in the capital since Monday, held marches on Revenue Department offices in the city and the Health Ministry in a bid to encourage civil servants to stop work and join their cause.

The anti-government People's Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) seeks to force caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and her cabinet to resign, but the numbers attending the marches have dwindled since Monday, observers said.

Yingluck has shown no signs of resigning, and on Wednesday announced the government's intention to go ahead with a general election set for February 2, despite calls by the Election Commission to postpone the polls.

PDRC protesters marched on the Health Ministry on Thursday to show their support for Narong Sahametapat, permanent secretary of the Health Ministry, who had joined a call for the resignation of Yingluck's government.

“The movement can't rely on Bangkokians, who come in the morning and leave in the afternoon and can't put up with the hardships of a long campaign,” said Puangthong Pawakapan, a political scientist at Chualongkorn University.

“Only the hard-core southerners are keeping this going,” she added.

The main followers of the PDRC - led by veteran Democrat opposition politician Suthep Thaugsuban - include middle-class Bangkok residents and people from the southern provinces, which together comprise the main support base of the Democrat opposition party.

The Democrats, who have not won an election since 1992, say they will boycott the February polls.

Sapa-dpa



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