Thai protesters say no plan to shut airports

Thai protesters say no plan to shut airports
Anti-government protesters gather outside the house of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra during a rally on December 26, 2013.

BANGKOK - Thailand's anti-government protest movement reassured tourists Friday that it would not target the kingdom's airports or public transportation during a planned "shutdown" of Bangkok later this month.

The demonstrators, who are seeking to oust Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and curb her billionaire family's political dominance, say they will occupy Bangkok from January 13.

"Operation Occupy Bangkok does NOT involve airport closures or the disruption of any mass transport services. Public buses, trains, BTS sky-trains, MRT underground trains, and public boats will operate normally," the protest movement said on its English-language Facebook page.

The demonstrators have vowed to set up protest stages around the capital, prevent government officials from going to work and to cut off power and water to government offices as well as to the residences of the prime minister and her cabinet.

The protesters also plan several marches in Bangkok starting from Sunday to build momentum ahead of the occupation attempt.

Thai stocks and the baht currency have fallen sharply on concerns that the deepening crisis will scare off foreign tourists and international investment.

In 2008 opposition protesters paralysed Bangkok's main airports, stranding thousands of tourists.

Yingluck has called February elections but the protesters have vowed to block the vote, which they fear will only return the Shinawatra clan to power.

They have prevented candidates registering for the polls in several opposition-dominated southern provinces.

Eight people have been killed and about 400 wounded in several outbreaks of street violence in recent weeks.

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