Thousands took to the streets in Bangkok to express their discontent in the current government administration in Thailand led by prime minister, Yingluck Shinawatra. At 9:00 AM on Monday, protest leader of the People's Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC), Suthep Thaugsuban, officially started the shutdown.
By sundown, around 170,000 protesters blocked some of the capital's key intersections including Lumpini, Asok, Ratchaprasong, Pathumwan, Victory Monument, Lat Phrao, and Chaeng Watthana. The government has already deployed over 8,000 soldiers and 10,000 policemen to handle the unrest.
Fortunately, the protest was peaceful. However, many fear that the demonstrations will end in violence. Since the protests began in November last year, eight people have died and 470 have been hurt. On Sunday evening, a guard was shot at Chaeng Watthana Road by an unidentified assailant. 36-year old Samran Chanthongon is now resting at the Mongkut Wattana Hospital. Chanthongon was lucky to survive the shotgun attack.
U.N Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, has urged Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and the head of the PDRC to discuss differences. "I urge all involved to show restraint, avoid provocative acts and settle their differences peacefully, through dialogue," Ban said. Both parties are scheduled to meet on Wednesday.
Protesters called on Yingluck to step down from her position, and demanded an unelected people's council to be installed to make political reforms. It is clear that Yingluck is no longer the prime minister in the eyes of the protesters.
Meanwhile, pro-government "red shirts" from the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD) have launched counter protests in Chiang Mai, Khon Kaen, Ubon Ratchathani, and Ayutthaya. The UDD condemns the anti-government protests and strongly supports Yingluck Shinawatra.