Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra has rejected protesters' demands that she resign before February's snap elections. She made a short and tearful announcement to this effect.
Demonstrators have been calling for Yingluck Shinawatra to resign and
be replaced with a people's prime minister .
On Monday, around 150,000 protesters had converged around the government headquarters in what they had described as a final push to unseat the government.
On the same day, Ms Yingluck
announced that she would dissolve parliament and call elections, now set for 2 February.
Yingluck's Pheu Thai party has a majority in parliament, and draws significant support from Thailand's rural areas. The party is seen as well-placed to win
From past experience Thailand's bars are set to be shout on Friday 31st January and Saturday 1st February. Also bars will open late on Sunday 2nd February. In addition there is round of voting on the weekend before the
election when the bars will also be shut on at least Saturday.
At least one person has been killed and three wounded by gunfire after clashes broke out between rival protesters in the Thai capital Bangkok.
People heading to a pro-government rally were attacked by students, and later shots were fired.
Saturday is the seventh day of protests aiming to unseat the government of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra. Protesters claim her government is controlled by her brother, exiled former leader Thaksin Shinawatra.
On Saturday, what had been largely peaceful demonstrations turned violent outside a stadium where a pro-government rally has been confined during this week to avoid clashes with the anti-government protests moving around the city, the BBC's
Jonathan Head reports from Bangkok.
A group of students attacked vehicles bringing government supporters to the stadium - windows were smashed, and some minor injuries reported. Later, shots were fired, but it is not clear yet by whom. Police
reinforcements were sent to the area and roads blocked, but skirmishes between the two sides continued for several hours.
Police have called for military backup to reinforce security in the city.
The Bangkok-based British Embassy has announced that British nationals now suggests that British nationals should use other country's embassies or consulates to obtain an income verification letter as required for 12 month visa extensions.
email communication, a spokesman said that British nationals, if they wish, may use any other embassy or consulate to obtain their income letter provided the alternative agency and the immigration bureau will accept the documentation.
consul Michael Hancock explained that the embassy was reducing its notarial work and concentrating on trying to assist British nationals in need.
The Airports of Thailand board of directors has announced an increase in departure tax for both domestic and international passengers by 100 baht, AoT Chairman Sita Divari has said.
The departure tax for domestic flights would rise from 100 baht to
200 baht, and from 700 baht to 800 baht for international flights. The increase still needs final approval from aviation and transport authorities. The tax is now included in the price of an air ticket.
The latest increase comes on top of the
government's move to charge foreigners a new arrival tax at airports and land border crossings.
Public Health Minister Pradit Sintavanarong said the government is considering a plan to charge foreigners a 500-baht entry fee from January next year.
He ludicrously claimed the extra charge would lead to an improvement in the quality of tourists entering Thailand. It would also offset the costs of state hospitals treating tourists who have accidents or fall ill and have no insurance cover.
Foreigners who arrive at airports would be charged 500 baht while those who enter the country by land would be charged 30 baht a day. (I hope that doesn't mean that a 90 day entry will be 2,700 baht).
Yingluck Shinawatra's Cabinet has approved in principle draft-legislation for the protection of so-called intangible cultural heritage . The proposed bill's Article 40 seeks to punish people whose words or actions using intangible heritage are
found to offend the monarchy, religion, national security, as well as public order and morality .
Violators could face up to two years in prison and/or a fine up to Bt50,000. There's also a catch in that those who exercise the law, if passed,
also have the power to interpret what may constitute the intangible cultural heritage that needs to be protected.