US Warns Citizens as Protests Shut Down Bangkok

Protesters vow to topple elected government
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 13, 2014 12:04 AM CST
US Warns Citizens as Protests Shut Down Bangkok
A speaker rallies anti-government protestors with a banner reading: "Shutdown Bangkok" outside the MBK Center shopping mall in Bangkok today.   (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

Protesters aiming to topple Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and put democracy in Thailand on hold have shut down Bangkok by building barricades and blocking key road junctions. Some 18,000 security personnel have been deployed to maintain order and there have been no serious incidents so far, but there are fears of renewed violence and protest leaders have vowed to reject any attempt at negotiation, reports the BBC.

Yingluck has called for new elections next month but the protesters are demanding that the government be replaced by an unelected "people's council" to carry out reforms, CNN reports. "The situation in Thailand is tense, volatile, and unpredictable," an Amnesty International spokeswoman warns. "There is a real risk of loss of life and injury unless human rights are fully respected." The US Embassy has urged Americans to avoid large gatherings in Bangkok and to stockpile essential items. (More Bangkok stories.)

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