Thailand’s prime minister Abhisit Vejjajiva has implied that force could be used against anti-government protesters to dislodge them from a Bangkok shopping district.
The red-shirt protesters, who are demanding early elections, have responded by saying they are staying put.
The prime minister gave the warning in a weekly televised address.
“From now on, what the government will do may risk clashes and losses,” he said. “But the government knows what it’s doing. What needs to be done must be done.”
The red shirts have agreed to pull back a barrier to allow cars access to a hospital.
Vejjajiva appeared to rule out martial law to counter the protesters, who have forced shopping precincts and hotels to close.
Under a state of emergency declared in the capital last month, the security forces already have wide-ranging powers such as being able to ban public gatherings of more than five people.
The protest in Bangkok is now in its eight week. One failed attempt last month to move demonstrators from another area ended with more than two dozen killed and hundreds wounded.