Protests: Marching day, PM dissolves parliament

Even before the nine protest marches to Government House got fully started, PM Yingluck Shinawatra announced she is dissolving parliament. The marches continue, however, with a large crowd already at Government House. We'll be watching throughout the day.

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Nine major protest marches were scheduled today, starting from various points around the city of Bangkok and converging on Government House. They all took place peacefully. The intent, protest leader Suthep Thuagsuban said, was to force the Yingluck Shinawatra government from power. But even before most marches began, the prime minister went on television to announce she was dissolving parliament. We have been following this story all day as it happens.

Photo by Sithikorn Wongwudthianun

A large group of protesters has already reached Government House with tens of thousands more on the way. APICHART JINAKUL

PM Yingluck announces she is dissolving parliament. SOMCHAI POOMLARD

20:00

Rally leader Suthep Thuagsuban arrives at Government House after a seven-hour walk. CHANAT KATANYU

Suthep Thuagsuban and his marchers from the Government Complex in Chaengwattana finally arrived at Government House about 3pm, almost seven hours after their walk began. Three hours later he addressed the huge crowd and a national TV audience through several free TV channels. He rejected the caretaker government under Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, citing a long list of illegalities and mistakes carried out by her administration. But he was not clear on exactly what would come next and how his people's assembly might be set up. He asked the crowd to stay with him and that there would be more actions tomorrow to ensure the Thaksin regime would really end.

15:30

I have to go out for a while, but I'll post this evening when the situation should be a bit clearer.

14:50

The barrier-removing tractor has arrived at Government House. CHANAT KATANYU

This morning I heard rally leaders at Ratchadamnoen demanding that the barriers around Government House removed by 15:00. They are still there, but it may not be long before they are gone since the barrier-removing tractor has arrived on the scene.

14:30

The Pheu Thai Party has announced it is ready for elections. The party leader Charupong Ruangsuwan said the party would be in a stronger position since the five-year ban of all former party executives has ended. He said he believed Ms Yingluck would run again.

Meanwhile, the big question concerning the massive numbers of people arriving at the Government House area is what is going to happen next?

14:05

With no tear gas in the air today, the mood among protest is quite festive. SEKSAN ROJJANAMETAKUL

12:35

About 1000 anti-government protesters gathered in Buri Ram this morning. SURACHAI PIRAKSA

This morning's anti-government crowd in Pattani in the country's deep South was estimated at 5,000 at 9:00am. ABDULLAH BENYAKART

The rejection of a caretaker government quickly spread upcountry with demonstrations in a growing number of provincial halls, including relatively small but vocal crowds in the northeast

11:20

Rally leader Suthep Thuagsuban heads his march group on the way to Government House. Still along walk ahead. PATTARACHAI PREECHAPANICH

The crowd at Silom, one of nine large marching groups, gets ready to set off for the Government House area this morning.

With no resistance on the way to Government House, a large crowd has gathered outside. Thus far there has been no attempt to break inside. CHANAT KATANYU.

Live television reports show marchers continuing to converge on the Government House area non-stop. In some cases, the line of marchers takes an hour or more to pass a location. The main marches have been joined by groups from Chulalongkorn, Thammasat and Kasetsart Universities. Organisers are going to have a massive job keeping the crowd organised, fed and most importantly, well-supplied with drinking water when they all arrive at the final destination. This time there has been no resistance at all from police and no attempts by members of the crowd to break into government buildings.

Another group of anti-government marchers sets off from the Thonburi side at Wong Wian Yai. PAWAT LAOPAISARNTAKSIN

Meanwhile, protest leaders have explained why they are continuing to march despite the House dissolution. They say a caretaker government run by the current cabinet is unacceptable because it cant' be trusted to carry out a fair election. They say by resigning, it would open the way to the temporary people's assembly they have been demanding.

10:10

The crowd at Ratchadamnoen is extremely heavy and rally leaders are warning against overcrowding as they send marchers off in different directions. If you can't move forward, don't, they say.

9:25

The PM's announcement of a House dissolution has prompted many of the marchers to set off for Government House before the scheduled 9:39 start. Once the dissolution is official, the cabinet becomes a caretaker government and already anti-government rally leaders have told it to "get out".

8:50

Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra has just gone on television to announce she is dissolving parliament, less than an hour before most marches are scheduled to begin. Rally leaders at Ratchadamnoen reacted immediately with shouts of "Let's go to Government House". The marches will continue.

8:00

At this moment, rally leaders at each site are giving last-minute speeches and getting the crowds there organized. The marches are scheduled to leave for Government House simultaneously at 9:39am expect for the Government House at Chaeng Wattana which is 20kms away. There marchers are expected to leave earlier and, indeed, there are reports that some have have already started the long march. (Confirmed: The first group is now on Viphavadi Road.) Bangkok traffic is expected to be paralysed in many parts of the city for much of the day.

The Yaowarat community of Bangkok was on the streets yesterday preparing for today's "fight to the finish" marches. NATTAPOL LOVAKIJ

Speaking outside Government House about 30 minutes ago, a TV Channel 7 reporter said the area is much less heavily defended than it was a week ago when a series of clashes led to many injuries and some damage to property. She said there are barriers outside the Government House itself, but not on the bridges and there is no sign of the tear gas trucks today.

Protesters have been cautioned that the "final victory" may take more than one day and that they should be prepared to sleep in the streets tonight.

Related search: Thailand, anti-government protests, Bangkok, marches

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