BANGKOK: Thai opposition protesters besieged several more ministries in Bangkok on Tuesday in a bid to topple the government, as Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra faced a no-confidence motion in parliament and warned against “mob rule”.
Tens of thousands of demonstrators have rallied against Yingluck and her brother, ousted premier Thaksin Shinawatra, in the biggest street protests since 2010, when more than 90 civilians were killed in a military crackdown.
Fresh turmoil in the politically turbulent country has sparked international concern and raised fears of a new bout of street violence.
Demonstrators surrounded the interior, agriculture, transport, and sports and tourism ministries, ordering officials inside to leave, a day after occupying the finance and foreign ministries.
“We have to leave because they (the protesters) will cut the utilities,” tourism and sports minister Somsak Pureesrisak told.
Around 1,500 protesters, waving Thai flags and blowing whistles, marched to the interior ministry, which was heavily guarded by several hundred security personnel, according to an AFP reporter at the scene.
Demonstrators gave officials an ultimatum to leave within one hour, threatening to “close the ministry”.
Unlike at the interior ministry, most of the government buildings taken over had only a light security presence outside. But on the streets more generally, police numbers have been increased in Bangkok in response to the expansion late Monday of the Internal Security Act, which gives authorities additional powers to block routes, impose a curfew, ban gatherings and carry out searches.
Yingluck on Tuesday reiterated a vow that authorities would “absolutely not use violence” as she arrived at parliament, which was guarded by dozens of police.
“Everybody must obey the law and not use mob rule to upstage the rule of law,” she told reporters.