Bangkok is bracing for a major push by the anti-government protesters to oust the government of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, in what many predicted to be the largest political crisis in two years.
The anti-government faction has enjoyed its new surge in momentum after the government pushed for a ′blanket amnesty′, which would absolve the corruption convictions of former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra and allow him to return to power in Thailand.
The plan backfired, as the thought of giving amnesty to Mr. Thaksin has deeply angered many middle class urbanites who viewed the former leader as a corrupt tyrant.
Although the government has insisted it will no longer pursue the ′amnesty-for-all′, prominent leaders of the anti-government faction, namely the Democrat Party which has been organising a rally in Ratchadamnoen Avenue, said the government has already lost its legitimacy.
The date of 11 November also coincides with the scheduled verdict of International Court of Justice on the possession of the territory around the border temple of Preah Vihear, which is claimed by both Thailand and Cambodia.
Experts warn that if Thailand loses the case, it will greatly embolden the anti-government protesters, leading them to accuse the government of ′′betraying the country".
Follow the latest development of the anti-government protests in Bangkok with Khaosod English.
19.00: Suthep Thaugsuban urged the Thai people to adopt four ′civil disobedient′ measures to show their defiance against the government.
Detailing the civil disobedient measures, Suthep called for a nationwide strike between 13-15 November, along with shutdown of all schools and business. Meanwhile, the Thai citizens should also refuse to pay tax, Mr. Suthep said, so that the government will not be able to "corrupt" taxpayers′ money.
Mr. Suthep also urged all anti-government activists to carry a Thai national flag and a whistle with them at all time, so that they can heckle PM Yingluck and members of her Cabinet with whistle noises whenever and where they encounter these politicians.
18.35: Suthep Thaugsuban has announced onstage that he would resign from his post as a Democrat MP in order to lead the anti-government protests without legal consequences against the Democrat Party.
Under Thai Constitution, members of political parties in the Parliament cannot lead street protests. Mr. Suthep′s resignation is seen as a measure to prevent Pheu Thai Party from filing charges to the Constitutional Court against the Democrat Party.
8 other Democrat MPs also resigned alongside Mr. Suthep.
16.00: A speaker on the protest rally at Ratchadamnoen Avenue told the protesters to wait for instructions from the protest leaders on 18.00 on how to proceed with their next stage of the campaign against the government.
News reports say five senior Democrat MPs might resign from their parliamentary positions to devote themselves to the anti-government campaigns.
The atmosphere of the rally in Ratchadamnoen Avenue is visibly in high spirit. Over 20,000 people are believed to join the protest there, our correspondent reports.
15.00: A representative of Student and People Network For Political Reform of Thailand has submitted a letter to Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha, commander-in-chief of the Royal Thai Army, calling on the army to investigate a rumour that the government has secretly brought in foreign armed militants to sow chaos against the anti-government protesters.
A senior office told the protesters he will present the letter to Gen. Prayuth.
14.35: Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra has arrived at Government House to monitor the situation about the protests and the verdict of ICJ on Preah Vihear Temple.
14.30: Anti-government protesters are facing off with riot police at Makkawan Bridge on Ratchadamnoen Avenue. Concrete barriers and rolls of barbed wire separated the two opposing sides.
Makkawan Bridge has been the site of clashes in many of Bangkok′s previous protests, as it connects much of Ratchadamnoen Avenue with the district in which many important governmental offices are based, including the Government House. Police feared the protesters might repeat the tactics of the Yellowshirts in which they seized the Government House during their protest in 2008.
14.15: The protesters from other parts of Bangkok have arrived at Ratchadamnoen Avenue, swelling the ranks of the anti-government protesters there.
13.00: Thousands of protesters are now gathering in many spots of financial districts of Bangkok, such as Aree, Ratchathewi, and Asoke Intersection. The protesters held a brief ′whistle blowing′ as a symbolic gesture of defiance against the government, and later marched to join the larger protests at Ratchadamnoen Avenue.
12.00: Anti-government protesters are also converging in the southern province of Trang. Around ten thousand protesters are expected to join the rally in front of Trang City Hall, says one of the protest organisers, who banded under the name Student and People Network For Political Reform of Thailand.
Mr. Saksarit Sriprasart also vowed to march to Bangkok to support their fellow protesters if they requested a reinforcement.
The Bangkok chapter of Student and People Network has also been camping in Uruphong Intersection, just few blocks away from Government House.
11.00: The court has allowed Mr. Chaiwat Sinthuwong, a leader of the Yellowshirts, to join the anti-government rally and give speeches on the stage, as long as the speeches do not "encourage chaos in the nation".
Mr. Chaiwat is facing a legal action for his role in leading the occupation of Survanabhumi Airport in 2008 as an attempt to oust the Thaksin-allied government at the time. The court has previously allowed him a bail release on the ground that he must not join any political activity.
Mr. Chaiwat said he would later give speeches at the rally in Ratchadamnoen Avenue today.
10.15: Mr. Jarupong Ruengsuwan, Minister of Interior Affairs, said he predicted that the anti-government protesters would exploit the issue of ICJ ruling this evening to mobilize their campaign against the government.
The protesters have been rallying under the pretense of their opposition against ′blanket amnesty′ bill, Mr. Jarupong argued, whereas in reality they are harbouring a plot to overthrow the government.
He also called the ongoing anti-government protests "an act of treason" and vowed to discuss the issue with relevant authorities.
10.00: Marching from the Ministry of Defence, where they proclaimed their rejection of ICJ′s scheduled verdict, Pefot protesters have merged with the anti-government protesters around Democracy Monument who have been rallying under the leadership of the Democrat Party.
Mr. Suthep Thaugsuban, a prominent MP of Democrat Party, personally welcomed the Pefot protesters, inviting them to have lunch together at Democracy Monument.
Our correspondent reports that thousands of protesters are relaxing in their tents and in front of rally stage. On the stage, speakers offered torrents of criticism against the government, particularly on the issue of Preah Vihear Temple. Much of the opinion here predicts that the government will lose the case, our correspondent says.
09.40: Around 1,600 protesters led by People′s Democratic Force For Overthrow of Thaksinism (Pefot) marched to Ministry of Defence on Ratchadamnoen Avenue and read a statement proclaiming their loyalty to the nation.
If the ICJ′s ruling favours Cambodian position, the protesters will not accept the verdict, the statement says. It also calls on the Ministry of Defence to protect the sovereignty of Thailand by refusing to yield "even just one square inch" of Thai territory to Cambodia.
08.00: Citing security concerns, 24 schools in the vicinity of the protesters′ main encampment in Ratchadamnoen Avenue have decided to close down from 11-13 November.
07.00: In the bid to bar the anti-government protesters from storming important governmental offices, the police have cordoned off many roads in the old quarters of Bangkok, such as Phan Fa Bridge, Din So Road, and traffic around Giant Swing will be limited to one lane.