Bangkok, Feb 19 (IANS) Thailand's Civil Court Wednesday ruled that the emergency decree imposed in Bangkok and adjacent areas cannot be used as a reason to crack down on anti-government protests.
The court also banned the use of force against protestors, stating that the demonstrations have been peaceful so far, the Nation newspaper reported.
The court, however, refused to revoke the emergency decree as former Democrat MP Thaworn Saeniam requested.
Several thousand protestors Wednesday besieged the Office of the Permanent Secretary for Defence, which caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra has used as a temporary workplace, to demand that Yingluck step down, Xinhua reported. But Yingluck failed to show up.
The protestors were also joined by hundreds of farmers who traveled from the commerce ministry to pressure the caretaker government to make overdue payments owed under the rice-pledging scheme.
Reportedly, the farmers locked up the gates of the commerce ministry with chains to prevent civil servants from working there.
Later in the day, protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban pledged to escalate the protest to a new level and attack businesses of the Shinawatra family.
It is reported that 182 protestors, who were detained during a police operation Tuesday while security were retaking five rally sites in the capital, have been released on bail. But the requests to release two protest leaders have been rejected.
A clash occurred between the police and protestors during the police operation, leaving five people dead and 70 others injured.