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January 07, 2014

Thai Protesters Rally Support for Shutdown

by VOA News

Anti-government protesters marched through Bangkok Tuesday, rallying support for a larger demonstration next week they hope will shut down the capital and force the prime minister to resign.

One of the protesters, 27-year-old Naprapat Phrompipatpakdee, said she supports the opposition's call for Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra to hand over power to an unelected people's council.

"Everything that this government has said or done is all wrong and they are pretending that it is right. I disagree with this," she said. "That's why I have to come to join Suthep."

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The protesters, led by ex-Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban, aim to paralyze the capital next Monday with mass demonstrations that will block main highways and prevent government offices from functioning.

Prime Minister Yingluck has dissolved parliament, called for early elections, and proposed the formation of a national reform council as a way to resolve the months-long political crisis.

But the opposition has said this is not enough, saying reforms must take place before elections, which analysts say the prime minister's ruling party is likely to win.

Demonstrators view Yingluck as a puppet of her brother, former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra.

Former prime minister Thaksin, a billionaire businessman, was ousted in a 2006 military coup. He was convicted of corruption and lives in self-imposed exile.