Protesters in Thailand have tightened their blockades in the capital.
In a bid to achieve what they are calling a “shutdown” of Bangkok, anti-government demonstrators have marched on several state buildings and blocked key road junctions.
Thai Prime Minister, Yingluck Shinawatra dissolved parliament in December and has called a snap election for February. She has said she is prepared to hold talks with her opponents, however, they have appeared to rule out all attempts at arbitration.
“You cannot mediate with this undertaking, you cannot compromise with this undertaking,” said leader Suthep Thaugsuban. “In this undertaking, there’s only win or lose… today, we must cleanse Thailand.”
Thaugsuban says the protesters will remain on the streets until the government is replaced by an unelected “people’s council” that will change the electoral system.
Their latest move was to surround the Customs Department.
In solidarity with the protesters, employees from the National Economic and Social Development Board – another of the surrounded buildings – left their posts to join the rally.
The police headquarters were also targeted, as well as government ministries, the planning agency and other state bodies, in an effort to paralyse the government.
Turmoil in the country has been rife for eight years, with the largely Bangkok-based middle class and royalist establishment in opposition to the mostly poorer, rural supporters of the Prime Minister.
Anti-government factions distrust the influence the Prime Minister’s brother, ousted former premier Thaksin Shinawatra, seems to have over her; seemingly worried that the siblings do not have Thailand’s best interests at heart.