x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

Thai protests escalate

Thai authorities have asked residents to leave an area of Bangkok occupied by protesters amid threats to cut off supplies and use force.

Thai authorities have asked Bangkok residents to leave an area of the city occupied by anti-government protesters, saying they would restrict access as part of tough new measures. "To the residents in the area: please leave. After midnight, authorities will not allow anyone to come in," Colonel Sunsern Kaewkumnerd, a spokesman for the government agency dealing with the two-month old crisis, said. Authorities vowed today to squeeze the demonstrators occupying a commercial district in the capital by cutting off power, water, telephones, transport and food supplies.

However protesters said they will not end their five-week occupation of Bangkok's main shopping district despite the threats by authorities to cut off their supplies and use force. "Whatever measure you use, we are not scared," Weng Tojirakarn, a leader of the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship, better known as the "red shirts", said. Protest leaders have vowed to continue their rally until the deputy premier Suthep Thaugsuban is charged for his role overseeing a deadly April 10 crackdown, when armed troops attempted to clear part of the capital.