Police move onto protest site in Bangkok, no violence-witness

by Reuters
Friday, 14 February 2014 02:52 GMT

(Updates with details)

BANGKOK, Feb 14 (Reuters) - Thai police moved onto a protest site in Bangkok on Friday where demonstrators have been camped out for more than three months in their campaign to topple the government of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, a Reuters witness said.

There was no violence as at least 1,000 police cleared protesters from a site stretching from Royal Plaza to the United Nations headquarters, an area that has been occupied since anti-government rallies began in November.

A few of the officers were armed but most carried just batons and shields, the witness said.

Some protesters hurled abuse but otherwise police met no resistance in a historic area of the capital that includes Government House and the Metropolitan Police headquarters, scenes of violent clashes in November and December.

The area is not one of the three largest protest sites, where demonstrators have been rallying to try to oust Yingluck, and in recent weeks the numbers there have dwindled to a small hard core.

The protesters blocked voting in a fifth of Thailand's constituencies in a general election on Feb. 2. They want electoral rules rewritten before any fresh poll and have vowed to keep up their campaign.

They are demanding that Yingluck resigns and makes way for an appointed "people's council" to overhaul a political system they say has been taken hostage by her billionaire brother and former premier, Thaksin Shinawatra. (Reporting by Damir Sagolj and Andrew R.C. Marshall; Writing by Alex Richardson; Editing by Paul Tait)

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