South protests shut state offices
Protesters in mostly southern provinces yesterday closed state offices as they stepped up their campaign to oust the government.
In Phuket, People's Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) protesters arrived at the provincial hall with their vehicles and locked the gates.
They later moved to government offices at other locations.
The offices of the Phuket and Wichit municipalities, and the local offices of the Revenue Department and the Department of Land Transport were closed.
They also closed local radio and television stations of the Public Relations Department and other offices in Phuket's Muang Phuket, Kathu and Thalang districts.
In Nakhon Si Thammarat, demonstrators closed the offices of the province's 23 districts.
The protesters intend to keep the offices closed for five days.
The protesters also closed the local offices of the Revenue Department and the Royal Forest Department, the office of Nakhon Si Thammarat municipality, police stations and schools.
In Prachuap Khiri Khan, demonstrators closed the provincial hall.
Assistant provincial governor Pramote Sampao-ngern negotiated with demonstrators and asked them not to damage government property.
Protesters also closed other government offices throughout the province, including local branches of the Revenue Department, the Social Security Office, the Election Commission, the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives, the Department of Land Transport and the office of Muang Prachuap Khiri Khan district.
The demonstrators did not close hospitals, the provincial court, banks and the local land office.
In Surat Thani, the provincial hall was closed. Demonstrators found a revenue official in its compound and evicted him.
In Trang, officials collected their documents as demonstrators moved in.
In Krabi, demonstrators closed the provincial hall where about 60 defence volunteers were standing guard.
Demonstration leader Pomphet Sukhonthakanit said he and his supporters would stay in place until the caretaker government resigned.
Demonstrators also closed other local government offices, including the local branch of the Government Savings Bank after they heard the government planned to have the state-run bank fund its loss-ridden rice-pledging scheme.
Demonstrators in Krabi also closed the administrative offices of Plai Phraya, Koh Lanta and Lam Thap districts.
In Chumphon, executives of local administrative organisations joined demonstrators in closing government offices in the compound of the provincial hall. They also locked Sriyapai and Saard Paderm Wittaya schools. However, demonstrators had dispersed by late yesterday afternoon.
Protest leader Pripramote Lertwarapat said demonstrators understood school examinations were approaching. The decision to close schools was actually taken by their management.
In the northeastern province of Buri Ram, protesters have locked the local office of the Revenue Department since Friday. About 100 demonstrators were still there yesterday.