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Thai protesters cut power to govt HQ, ask army to step in

Thursday, 12 December 2013 - 5:20pm IST | Agency: PTI

Thai opposition protesters today cut power and water supplies to the government headquarters and appealed to the powerful military to intervene to topple premier Yingluck Shinawatra amid a raging political crisis.

Suthep Thaugsuban, the anti-government leader of the People's Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) has asked police and military chiefs to meet him by tonight and to choose their side. However, Thai Army chief General Prayuth Chan-ocha said the military are yet to respond to the call for a talk, stressing their political neutrality.

Prayuth said he was yet to discuss with leaders of the armed forces and report to caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck. He said he was not empowered to make the decision and protesters should avoid pushing the armed forces into the middle of the current conflicts, the Nation reported. "Justice is the most significant factor in solving the problems," he said.

The politically powerful army has staged or attempted 18 coups in the past 80 years, including the ousting of Yingluck's brother, Thaksin Shinawatra, in 2006.

On Monday, Yingluck was forced to dissolve the lower house of the parliament and call an early election by February 2 as 160,000 protesters gathered around her office. The numbers on the street have dwindled considerably since the announcement.

For the past two weeks, thousands of protesters have marched in Bangkok in a bid to replace Yingluck with an unelected "People's Council".

The protesters, led by former deputy premier Suthep, accuse Yingluck of acting as a proxy for her fugitive brother Thaksin.

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