Police to arrest Thai opposition leader

    By IANS,

    Bangkok : Thai police are set to arrest Suthep Thaugsuban, who is leading protestors in the Bangkok shutdown that continued Thursday for the fourth day.

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    Deputy Prime Minister Surapong Tovichakchaikul announced that the police would take a scrupulous, well-guarded approach to arrest the leader of the protestors, for whom a rebellion charge and arrest warrant have already been issued, Xinhua reported.

    About 40 personal bodyguards believed to be armed with handguns were protecting Suthep round-the-clock, according to the police.

    Surapong said the police would take the protest leader into custody without the use of weapons, but declined to speculate if any gunfight might possibly occur between the police and his guards.

    Suthep has threatened to capture caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and other members of the cabinet to force them to step down.

    Meanwhile, three navy servicemen were arrested by police at a checkpoint near Government House in the Thai capital Wednesday night.

    The sailors — one lieutenant and two non-commissioned officers attached to the navy fleet — were found to have acted as guards for the Students and People Network for Reform of Thailand, another anti-government group which has joined hands with Suthep’s People’s Democratic Reform Committee in the prolonged bid to remove Yingluck from power.

    Earlier, Surapong called on the protestors to stop laying siege to the foreign ministry’s consular office where an estimated 4,000 people obtain passports daily for going abroad.

    As part of the Bangkok shutdown, the protestors have surrounded a dozen government premises in the capital and its suburbs, forcing government staff to quit and denying people access to them.

    They have also paralysed road traffic in Bangkok’s business districts such as Sukhumvit, Patumwan and Silom since Monday.

    Since November last year, protestors have been taking to the streets and occupying government offices, calling for an end to the government of Yingluck Shinawatra.

    Suthep Thaugsuban, a former deputy prime minister and Democrat Party’s member of parliament, resigned in November to spearhead the protests.