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Defiant Thai protesters vow to fight 'to the end'

Saturday, 15 February 2014 - 6:46pm IST | Place: Bangkok | Agency: PTI

Defiant Thai opposition activists today vowed to fight "to the end" as police braced to reclaim key state buildings and government headquarters besieged by protesters for months as part of their campaign to oust premier Yingluck Shinawatra.

Caretaker Labour Minister Chalerm Yubamrung directed authorities to ensure that the premier's office compound, known as the Government House, is reopened by Wednesday.
Chalerm, director of the Centre for Maintaining Peace and Order (CMPO) that is overseeing the response to the protests, said Yingluck intended to return to the building on Wednesday.

But protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban said he would not negotiate with Yingluck's caretaker government and the protests would end only when she quits and a People's Council is set up to carry out reforms.

"I would like to make it clear, there is nothing to negotiate. Our stance is clear. We will fight to the end, just win or lose," he said.

The premier and her cabinet have been working from an undisclosed location after protesters occupied key buildings as part of their three-month-old campaign to rid Thailand of the political dominance of the Shinawatra clan.

Chalerm said the CMPO would not use force to take back state offices from protesters led by the anti-government People's Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC).

"The CMPO will refrain from using force against PDRC protesters but this does not mean that we will not arrest Suthep, wanted under an arrest warrant on a charge of treason," he said.
Meanwhile, four persons were injured when a bomb went off at an anti-government rally site in eastern Thailand last night. The explosion damaged five cars and two motorcycles, a senior police official said.

Over 1,500 riot police yesterday dismantled a sprawling protest camp near the prime minister's office compound, as they launched "Operation Valentine" to clear public areas, marking a shift from an earlier government policy of not taking action against protesters.

The protesters have occupied major intersections in Bangkok and blocked several government ministries as part of their campaign against the Shinawatra clan.
They accuse Yingluck of acting as a puppet for her fugitive brother Thaksin Shinawatra who was ousted in a coup in 2006. He lives in self-imposed exile in Dubai to escape a jail term for graft.

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