Tens of thousands of protesters in Bangkok marched on key public offices on Monday in an effort to paralyze the Thai government
Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra has invoked an emergency security law in large parts of Bangkok and surrounding areas to cope with escalating protests against her government.
Ms. Yingluck announced the action Monday night after demonstrators seeking to remove her from office occupied parts of the finance and foreign ministries.
The Internal Security Act authorizes officials to seal off roads, take action against security threats, impose curfews and ban the use of electronic devices in designated areas. Peaceful rallies are allowed under the law.
Associated Press reported anti-government demonstrators in Thailand have broken into the Foreign Ministry compound after taking over the Finance Ministry in their offensive against the administration of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Sek Wannamethee said a group of protesters forced their way into the ministry premises Monday evening but promised not to enter its buildings. He was uncertain how many there were.
The protesters, blowing whistles and carrying flowers, marched on 13 government offices including state-owned television stations, military and police headquarters, the parliament and Government House where the cabinet meets.They were blocked by barricades and thousands of police from entering the Government House vicinity, where the cabinet was meeting for a quick session.
Prime Minister Yingluck Shinwatara said she would not resign or dissolve parliament, The Nation newspaper reported.
Ms Yingluck is the younger sister of Thaksin Shinawatra, a fugitive former prime minister who has been living abroad since 2008 to avoid a two-year jail term for an abuse-of-power conviction.
Thaksin, seen as the de facto leader of the Pheu Thai party that leads the current government, remains the most divisive figure in Thai politics.
The protesters, including supporters of the opposition Democrat Party, the People’s Force to Overthrow Thaksinism and other groups claim their goal is to “uproot the Thaksin regime.” A protest Sunday night in western Bangkok drew more than 100,000 demonstrators.
Protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban instructed the demonstrators to march on government offices Monday to urge government employees to stop work in a show of civil disobedience against the administration.
Suthep, who resigned from parliament to engage in street politics, led a march on the Budget Bureau with the aim of stopping it from distributing money to the government.
The marches were carried out peacefully, but caused traffic jams in the already congested Thai capital. Suvarnabhumi International Airport announced that passengers should arrive three hours before their flight departure time due to the unusually bad traffic caused by the protests.
The overhead mass transit system increased the frequency of its service to meet a surge in demand caused by traffic jams on roads, TV reports said. It remained unclear how long the protests would last.
“Suthep is finished,” said Labour Minister Charlem Yubanmrung.
“The protest has peaked. He can not get those numbers again.” The Democrat Party plans to launch a no—confidence debate in parliament against Yingluck and key cabinet members on Tuesday.