Thai govt to rebuild barricades around state buildings after protest warnings

Thai govt to rebuild barricades around state buildings after protest warnings
Anti-government protesters shout as they break down the barriers at the Thai Police Headquarters in Bangkok December 4, 2013.

BANGKOK - Thai authorities said Saturday they would rebuild barricades around key state buildings in Bangkok after opposition protesters called for a final push to topple the government.

The kingdom remains tense following several days of street clashes between police and demonstrators seeking to overthrow Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and curb the political influence of her brother Thaksin.

After the clashes, during which riot police used tear gas, water cannon and rubber bullets against stone-throwing demonstrators, the government ordered police to ease tensions by taking down barriers around key buildings including Government House.

But the barricades are set to be rebuilt ahead of a threat by anti-government protest leaders to turn Monday into "judgement day" for their efforts to overthrow the government.

"Police will erect barricades -- especially around Government House and Parliament," said Paradorn Pattnatabut, chief of the National Security Council.

Although the protests are "losing momentum" he said thousands of police would still be deployed on Monday.

"I am confident that there will be no violent incidents on Monday," he said, expressing hope the five week stand-off could still be resolved through negotiation.

Firebrand protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban, who faces an arrest warrant for insurrection, on Friday issued a rallying cry for a final push to overthrow the government.

Vowing to surrender to authorities unless enough people show up for Monday's rallies he said protesters would target the government's headquarters.

Suthep has repeatedly set deadlines for his movement, but protests have continued.

"If people turn out in their millions (on Monday) it's sure that things will change," Akanat Promphan, Suthep's step-son and spokesman for the opposition protesters, told reporters Saturday.

He said he was concerned there could be "violent clashes and loss of life".

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