New protest clashes shake Thai capital

New protest clashes shake Thai capital

BANGKOK - Fresh skirmishes broke out Monday between Thai security forces and opposition demonstrators who have issued an ultimatum for Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra to quit, a day after the anti-government campaign erupted into deadly violence.

Police used tear gas at the heavily guarded government headquarters, an AFP journalist at the scene saw, as protesters hurled sticks and other projectiles at security forces manning barriers at the besieged complex.

Some schools and universities in the capital were closed for safety reasons, authorities said, after unrest on Sunday rippled around the key government buildings in the capital that have been targeted.

The protests, aimed at unseating the elected government and replacing it with a "people's council", are the latest outbreak of civil strife to rock the kingdom since royalist generals ousted Thaksin Shinawatra, Yingluck's brother, seven years ago.

The billionaire tycoon-turned-premier is hated by the elites, Bangkok's middle class and southerners, who have massed in the capital in recent days vowing to rid the country of his influence.

But he is adored by many outside Bangkok, particularly in his stronghold in the nation's north, and Yingluck's party has a solid parliamentary majority.

Protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban said late Sunday that he had met Yingluck in secret in the presence of army, navy and air force commanders, but insisted the talks were simply a means to issue his demand for the government to hand power "to the people".

"There will be no bargaining and it must be finished in two days," he said in a televised speech.

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