Anti-government protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban speaks to his supporters in central Bangkok. Picture: Nir Elias

Bangkok -

Bangkok's Criminal Court on Wednesday approved arrest warrants for 19 leaders of ongoing anti-government protests for violating the terms of a state of emergency, reports said.

The court agreed that the leaders of the People's Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) had violated the emergency decree enforced in the capital last month, The Nation reported.

The PDRC launched a “Bangkok shutdown” campaign on January 13 as part of its efforts to pressure caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and her cabinet into resigning, paving the way for an appointed administration.

Protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban, who has been leading the anti-government protests since early November, already faces an arrest warrant for sedition.

Police have been reluctant to arrest him.

“If it makes matters worse we are not going to do it,” said Lieutenant Colonel Kissana Pattanacharoen, a spokesman for the emergency command force.

“But it's good to have these arrest warrants ready for when the time is ripe,” he added. - Sapa-dpa