Anti-government protests in Thailand have spread to provinces outside Bangkok deepening fears of civil conflict.
The red shirted supporters of former ousted premier Thaksin Shinawatra, who are seeking fresh elections, have started setting up blockades around the Thai capital in a bid to prevent more police from reinforcing the city.
It raises the stakes in an already volatile situation and authorities made several arrests in an effort to regain control. For the moment, however, there seems little chance of an end to the stand-off that has left 26 people dead and paralysed Bangkok.
Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva is refusing to meet the red-shirted protesters demands and the rival pro-government yellow shirted supporters are threatening action if the reds are not dispersed. They have demanded martial law be imposed, adding to the growing sense of chaos.
Earlier, Thailand’s revered king made a rare appearance on Thai television at a ceremony to install judges. However, the monarch made no comment on the political troubles engulfing his Kingdom.