No quick end to Bangkok shutdown
TENS of thousands of Thai anti-government protesters occupied parts of central Bangkok yesterday, meeting no resistance from the authorities, ratcheting up a two-month agitation to force the resignation of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra.
Police and soldiers kept a low profile as the "Shut down Bangkok, restart Thailand" drive got under way in the city of about 12 million people.
The mood among protesters was festive, with many singing and dancing in the streets.
Although major intersections that normally teem with cars and trucks were blockaded, city trains and river ferries were operating. Most shops were open and motorbikes plied the roads freely.
But protesters said that they were prepared for a long haul to tighten the noose on the capital, suggesting that the crisis may drag on for days, if not weeks, threatening to inflict substantial damage on South-east Asia's second-biggest economy.
As the blockade began to bite, Ms Yingluck invited the protest leaders and political parties to a meeting tomorrow to discuss an Election Commission proposal to postpone the vote, according to a senior aide of the Prime Minister.