Bangkok: Defiant Thai opposition activists today refused to negotiate with the embattled government despite warnings of legal action if they did not vacate ministries besieged by them as part of a prolonged campaign to oust premier Yingluck Shinawatra.
Protesters said they will forge ahead with their shutdown of Bangkok as they blockaded seven major intersections in the capital and forced many ministries and other government buildings like the central bank to shut down.
The government asked them to discuss ways to free up access to crucial offices, but this was rebuffed by Suthep Thaugsuban, leader of the anti-government People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC).
“Protesters at all PDRC rally sites will definitely not negotiate. Don’t waste your time contacting us because we won’t talk with you. We will continue to protest so that government officials no longer serve as a tool for the Thaksin regime to do harm to the country,” Suthep said.
The Centre for Maintaining Peace and Order (CMPO) warned that protesters must leave occupied offices within 72 hours or face action. It said teams of raiders would round up protesters laying siege to government offices.
“The siege of government installations must end. In 72 hours from now, units of raiders will be dispatched to roundup the protesters. This is not a threat, but a warning 72 hours in advance,” CPMO director Chalerm Yubamrung said.
“If they are still defiant, I will exercise my power under the emergency decree to arrest them,” he said, referring to the 60-day emergency imposed by the government last week.
Yubamrung said the CMPO would not yet seek help from the army to launch the crackdowns.
Unfazed by the warnings, Suthep called on Chalerm to abolish the CPMO, arguing that it has no legitimacy.
“We give the CMPO one day. If by tomorrow CMPO is still located at the Narcotics Suppression Bureau, we will move to surround the centre to prevent it from further intimidating the people,” he said.