|Suthep Thaugsuban (1st R, Front), secretary-general of the People's Democratic Reform Committee, greets supporters during a warm-up rally in downtown Bangkok, Thailand, Jan. 5, 2014. Thailand's anti-government protesters on Sunday morning began a warm-up rally to mobilize more people to join a mass campaign planned on Jan. 13 to paralyze the capital. (Xinhua/Rachen Sageamsak)
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BANGKOK, Jan. 5 (Xinhua) -- Thailand's anti-government protesters on Sunday morning began a warm-up rally to mobilize more people to join a mass campaign planned on Jan. 13 to paralyze the capital.
Led by Suthep Thaugsuban, secretary-general of the People's Democratic Reform Committee, protesters started at about 10 a.m. a march of about eight km in downtown Bangkok.
Similar warm-up rallies will take place on Tuesday and Thursday.
The operation to shut down Bangkok may last from five to 20 days to pressure caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra to step down, Suthep said.
In the meantime, pro-government Red Shirts are also planning to gather on Jan. 13 to counter the Bangkok shutdown, but they will avoid the capital and the neighboring and southern provinces so as not to conflict with protesters, according to Red-Shirt leader Natthawut Saikua.
The ruling Pheu Thai Party has already started its campaign in five provinces for the Feb. 2 general election, which the Election Commission (EC) said earlier would proceed as scheduled.
Constituency-based candidate registration for the election, which concluded last week, was blocked in 28 constituencies in eight southern provinces, but the EC said it was not empowered to extend the registration period or postpone the election.
[Video]Rising tensions put pressure on Thai military
Pro-gov't Thai Red Shirts to deter protesters' "Bangkok shutdown"
BANGKOK, Jan. 2 (Xinhua) -- Thailand's pro-government Red Shirt activists said Thursday they will gather en masse and counter anti- government protesters who have planned to "shut down" the Thai capital on Jan. 13.
Chatuporn Prompand, leader of the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship, the official name of the Red Shirt movement, said on Thursday that Red Shirt members will keep Bangkok open as normal while former deputy premier Suthep Thuagsuban, leader of the anti-government protesters, planned to have his followers occupy its major streets, cut off power and water supplies at varied government premises and paralyze road traffic in the inner part of the capital. Full story