Thailand'santi-government demonstrators rally to take over key intersectionsin Bangkok, Thailand, Jan. 13, 2014. Tens of thousands ofanti-government demonstrators took to the streets on Monday,paralyzing traffic in the inner part of the capital city in aprolonged political protest known as "Bangkok shutdown" .(Xinhua/Gao Jianjun)
BANGKOK, Jan. 13 (Xinhua) -- Since Thailand's anti-government protest leader Suthep started to march on Monday morning, he has received piles and piles of banknotes from supporters along the capital's major streets.
Thousands and thousands of people are joining in to shut down Bangkok, an operation announced by Suthep on the first day of this year and preluded by a couple of warm-up rallies over the past week to mobile Thais.
Waving red-white-blue Thai national flags and wearing head- ropes and bracelets of the same colors, protesters have swarmed seven major road intersections and eight buildings across the city. Whistling and cheering reverberate in the entire city.
Since Sunday evening, protesters have set up blockades and stages at various rally sites. They are even camping at several locations with abundant supplies, looking set to protract the shutdown operation as long as required by Suthep.
Major malls remain open on Monday, but there are more people outside rallying than inside shopping.
Traffic in the capital has been paralyzed and around 400 schools closed. Millions residing in Bangkok have been affected by the shutdown.
Skytrain and subway stations are flocked by more passengers than usual. Some people have asked for leave to stay at home and a number of companies just gave their employees a day off.
Photos about the shutdown have bombarded Facebook and Twitter, local TV channels are broadcasting rallies at various sites nonstop, and mobile phones keep receiving messages telling more roads have been blocked.
The shutdown has tarnished the country's international image and cut the number of inbound tourists.
A flight from Beijing to Bangkok on Sunday was unusually empty in a usually peak tourism season. A Chinese tourist surnamed Hao told Xinhua that he may change his itinerary and give up scenic spots in Bangkok if political tension ran high.
Some Chinese airlines have reported decreases in the number of tourists bound for Thailand. Tourists are advised to adjust their travel plans to keep away from Bangkok.
[Video]Thai protesters occupy major crossroads in Bangkok
Thailand's pro-gov't Red Shirts to counter "Bangkok shutdown"
BANGKOK, Jan. 10 (Xinhua) -- Thailand's pro-government Red Shirt activists said Friday they will hold rallies at various locations in the country this weekend in a prelude to their stand against the anti-government protesters' move to occupy Bangkok on Monday.
Vorachai Hema, former Pheu Thai Party member of parliament, said he would lead people in suburban Samut Prakan province to rally at the provincial hall on Sunday before moving to a yet-to- be-announced destination. Full story