Occupy state offices: Leader of Thai mass rally

Occupy state offices: Leader of Thai mass rally
Suthep Thaugsuban, a former deputy prime minister, addresses the crowd at the Democracy monument in central Bangkok where tens of thousands gathered in a protest against a government-backed amnesty bill.

THAILAND - Suthep Thaugsuban, leader of a mass rally aimed at "rooting out the Thaksin regime", last night called on his supporters to occupy all ministries in Bangkok as well as provincial halls upcountry.

Addressing the crowds camped out at the Finance Ministry compound since Monday, Suthep said state officials should "stop being a tool for the Thaksin regime".

He also called for changes that will ensure free and fair elections where votes are not bought, a society that is free of corruption and true decentralisation of power, including the election of governors in all provinces.

The former Democrat MP also said that he would today have his lawyer file petition with the Appeals Court to fight a lower court's decision yesterday to issue an arrest warrant for him.

He told his supporters that even if he were arrested, they should continue fighting against the "Thaksin regime".

Earlier yesterday, the Criminal Court approved the arrest warrant in connection with the occupation of government buildings. Suthep recently resigned as an opposition Democrat Party MP to head the rallies.

Police charged him with involvement in an illegal gathering and trespass on a government agency.

A political battle took place on two fronts yesterday with anti-government protesters besieging more government ministries and the opposition beginning its no-confidence onslaught against Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra in the House.

Thousands of demonstrators, protesting against a government-backed bill for blanket amnesty in political cases and vowing to "root out the Thaksin regime", yesterday surrounded the ministries of Interior, Agriculture, Transport, and Sports and Tourism.

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