UDD Demonstration, Victory Monument, Bangkok. 9th April 2009.
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'Red Shirt' protesters block Bangkok's main intersection, traffic paralysed
BANGKOK: In a bid to intensify pressure on the Democrat led government, the anti-government 'Red Shirt' protesters on Thursday blocked key intersections in Thailand's capital, paralysing the traffic in the city.
Demonstrators led by Jakrapob Penkair, a leader of the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD), marched from the residence of Privy Council president Prem Tinsulanonda to the Victory Monument, the city's largest traffic and transport hub, to join about hundred taxi drivers who parked their vehicles blocking roads around the area.
Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva earlier dismissed the UDD's ultimatum announced Wednesday afternoon to three privy councillors and himself to quit their posts unconditionally within 24 hours, otherwise it would announce raising the level of its anti-government protest.
Metropolitan police negotiated with the taxi drivers to open traffic but to no avail.
Responding to Parliamentary queries over the road blockade by taxi drivers, Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thuagsuban, who supervises security affairs, said that police towing vehicles will remove the parked taxis as early as possible to reopen traffic.
The authorities are making helicopter-based traffic inspections from the air, report traffic conditions to the public to avoid blocked areas, Mr. Suthep said.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Abhisit said that his government has prepared measures to handle the situation.
The premier himself boarded a helicopter to inspect Bangkok's traffic bottlenecks and get a better understanding of the overall scene.
The protest leaders have changed their tactics, after announcing earlier that the UDD would remain at Gen. Prem's residence for at least three days.
This photograph sits in a set here.