Thai anti-government protesters close camps as number of supporters fall
Thai anti-government protesters who have been camped out in north Bangkok packed their tents and marched downtown yesterday as they consolidated efforts to topple Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, a day after a disrupted general election.
Some joined protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban on foot and others followed in cars and six-wheel trucks as Thailand's long-running political conflict showed no sign of ending.
Watch: Thai protesters vow no let up after disrupting poll
Others surrounded a government office in north Bangkok where Yingluck and two senior ministers had been holding a meeting and cut through a barbed-wire fence. They later dispersed.
The protesters closed camps at two of the seven big intersections that they have blockaded since mid-January, at Victory Monument and Lat Phrao, and headed for the fringes of the central oasis of Lumpini Park. A third camp run by an allied group at a big government administrative complex may also be closed.
Suthep said on Sunday that this was being done out of safety concerns, but it could also be because their numbers are dwindling. Reuters put the number of marchers at about 3,000.
"Suthep's movement is now crumbling, but it still has powerful unseen backers," said Chris Baker, a historian and prominent Thailand scholar.
Suthep's supporters on the route showed no sign of crumbling, waving flags and handing over money.
The demonstrators blocked balloting in a fifth of the country's constituencies on Sunday, saying Yingluck must resign and make way for an appointed "people's council" to overhaul the political system.