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Hundreds of protesters storm govt ministries in Thai capital

Three especially sensitive districts of the capital have been under the law since August.

Written by Associated Press | Bangkok | Published: November 26, 2013 1:41:10 am

Anti-government demonstrators in Thailand occupied parts of two government ministries on Monday,turning up the pressure in their offensive against the administration of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra.

Protesters say they want Yingluck to step down amid claims that her government is controlled by her brother,former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra,who was ousted in a military coup in 2006. On Sunday,more than 150,000 demonstrators took to Bangkok’s streets in the largest rally Thailand has seen in years against what they call the “Thaksin regime.’’

Meanwhile,Shinawatra announced that the Internal Security Act,an emergency law,would cover all of Bangkok and large parts of surrounding areas. Three especially sensitive districts of the capital have been under the law since August. The law authorises 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.

The incursions into the finance and foreign ministries were the boldest acts yet in opposition-led protests that started last month. They highlighted the movement’s new strategy of paralysing the government by forcing civil servants to stop working.

Protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban led the crowd at the Finance Ministry on a day when protesters fanned out to 13 locations across Bangkok,snarling traffic and raising concerns of violence in the country’s ongoing political crisis,which has revolved around Thaksin for years. Protesters sang,danced and blew noisy whistles in the hallways as part of their “whistle-blowing’’ campaign against the government. One group cut power at the Budget Bureau to pressure the agency to stop funding government projects. Police made no immediate move to oust them. The protesters in the evening burst onto the Foreign Ministry grounds,which was not on their original list of targets. Thai media said there were several hundred protesters.

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