Thai police remove barricades to PM offices
Date created : Latest update :
Thai protesters, who have vowed to topple Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, entered the government's headquarters on Tuesday after police removed barricades from outside both Government House and the police headquarters.
Hundreds of Thai opposition protesters, who have vowed to topple Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, entered Government House in Bangkok unopposed on Tuesday, after police said they would offer no resistance.
Authorities have removed barriers to allow demonstrators into the compound "in order to reduce tensions between protesters and the police", Krisana Pattanacharoen, a police official, said in a televised address.
There was a carnival atmosphere, as protesters poured into the compound blowing whistles, sitting on the manicured lawns and posing for pictures, as tensions eased sharply in the capital after two days of unrest.
"This is great. I will fight!” said one protester outside Government House's gates, holding a Thai flag.
Earlier on Tuesday, police used cranes to remove concrete slabs and barbed wire barricades on a road leading to the nearby city police headquarters after agreeing to let the protesters into the building.
Some 20 police and soldiers were visible at the door of one of the buildings within the headquarters, in a dramatic reduction of security for the symbolic seat of government power.
The move comes after police announced they would no longer protect the building, which they had defended with tear gas, rubber bullets and water cannon on Monday.
The unexpected reversal of strategy by the government suggests it no longer wants to confront the protesters after days of clashes that have left three people dead and more than 230 injured and raised concerns about the country's stability.
Metropolitan Police chief Lieutenant General Kamronwit Thoopkrajang also said his officers would no longer try to fend off protesters at the police base.
"The Metropolitan Police Headquarters belongs to the public," he said.
"There will be no use of tear gas today," he said. "Last night a police officer was injured by a gunshot so if we resist there will be more injuries, and we are all Thais," he said.
Other government officials did not comment on the developments and it was not clear if this would provide more than a lull to the violence and the crippling political deadlock that undermines Thailand's democracy, economy and tourism.
On Monday night, protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban told his supporters to storm the Bangkok Metropolitan Police Bureau, one of the main buildings they have vowed to seize as part of a campaign to topple the government.
Yingluck told a news conference on Monday that while she could accept Suthep’s demand to hand power to an unelected council, she was willing to do anything it takes to end the violent protests,
(FRANCE 24 with AFP, AP)