Bangkok Protesters Besiege Telecoms Offices
TEHRAN (Tasnim) - Thousands of anti-government protesters are marching on Thailand's two main telecommunications enterprises in Bangkok in an effort to paralyze the government.
They have begun surrounding offices of Telephone Organisation of Thailand (TOT) and Communications Authority of Thailand (CAT), two vital state companies which handle domestic and international telecommunication services.
"We will control the area, like we did at the Finance Ministry, and ask staff not to work. So on Monday everything will shut down," Akanat Promphan, spokesman for the opposition Civil Movement for Democracy, told AFP news agency.
But the ICT Ministry insisted that back-up systems were in place and communications in Thailand would not be affected.
The protesters - a mix of royalists, southerners and the urban middle class sometimes numbering in their tens of thousands - are united by their dislike for Thaksin Shinawatra, the controversial former prime minister.
The one-time telecoms tycoon was toppled in a military coup in 2006 and lives in self-imposed exile, but he is widely believed to be the real power behind the government of his younger sister Yingluck Shinawatra, Al Jazeera reported.
Protesters are demanding the end of the "Thaksin regime" and want to replace the government with an unelected "people's council".
Suthep Thaugsuban, the protest leader and a former deputy prime minister, said the demonstrators remained "very upbeat".
"If we demolish the Thaksin regime ... we will set up a people's council, which will come from people from every sector," he said.
Several thousand anti-government protesters were scattered across five bases in Bangkok on Saturday, according to city police.
The protest organisers have declared Sunday a "day of victory", with plans to gather near the heavily guarded Government House, besiege more important buildings - even Bangkok's zoo - and to tighten their blockade of government ministries.