BANGKOK, Feb. 5 (Xinhua) -- The Thai authorities on Wednesday urged former deputy premier Suthep Thaugsuban, leader of anti- government protesters, to surrender on charges of violating the emergency rule now that arrest warrants have been approved by court for him and 18 other alleged troublemakers.
Acting labor minister Chalerm Yubamrung, concurrently head of the government's Center for Maintaining of Peace and Order, called on Suthep, for which the arrest warrant has been granted by the Criminal Court, to give himself in to the authorities instead of being forcefully brought to detention.
"Suthep is suggested to surrender to the authorities who have preferred not to use force to arrest him. He has as many as 50 gunmen protecting him and we'd hate to see any more bloodshed," said Chalerm.
The arrest warrants have been issued for the former deputy premier and several ex-MPs of the Democrat Party who have evidently directed the prolonged street protests despite the emergency rule effective since last month.
Chalerm declined to comment how the former deputy premier and other ringleader suspects could possibly be arrested without use of force by the authorities while they have continued to keep the street protests intact at several intersections in the heart of the capital.
Suthep and the other ex-Democrat lawmakers had allegedly had the protesters disrupt last Sunday's election in the capital city and southern constituencies, paralyze street traffic and occupy government premises.
They have persistently not only pressed acting premier Yingluck Shinawatra to step down but blocked the electoral process in sheer defiance of the emergency rule and other laws.
The Election Commission is yet to fix dates for a by-election in those constituencies where the race to parliament has been called off under the pressure of protesters so that there will be an adequate number of MPs for a post-election parliament to open and pick a new prime minister.
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