BANGKOK: Thailand’s prime minister begged protesters Thursday to call off their sustained anti-government demonstrations and negotiate an end to the nation’s latest crisis. But the protesters marched instead to new targets, including the national police headquarters, where they cut power lines.
Yingluck Shinawatra issued the plea after she easily defeated a no-confidence vote pushed by her opponents, who are heavily outnumbered in Parliament but have taken to the streets in droves to demand not only her ouster but changes that would make the country less democratic.
They say they want to uproot the political machine of former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, Yingluck’s brother, who was ousted by a military coup in 2006 for alleged corruption and abuse of power.
The protesters accuse Yingluck of being a puppet of her billionaire brother.
“Please call off the protests for the country’s peace,” said Yingluck, who is facing the biggest challenge to her rule since taking office in 2011.
Suthep Thaugsuban, who resigned as an opposition Democrat Party lawmaker to lead the protests, has insisted he will not negotiate.
Police spokesman Piya Uthayo said a total of about 15,000 protesters were grouped Thursday at about six locations in and around Bangkok.