Bangkok Shutdown: Monthlong Protests Begin

A monthlong protest in Bangkok began on Monday, which has been organised to force Thailand's Prime Minister out of office.

100,000 demonstrators have taken to the streets of the capital city, and they have laid siege to various major roads in Bangkok.

Lieutenant General Paradon Pattanathabut, who works as the nation's security chief, has confirmed that seven main intersections are now occupied, and one government office has even been blocked off.

Protestors revealed that they are still planning to surround various other ministerial houses, and they are also looking to cut off the water supplies and electricity in some government offices too.

The People's Democratic Reform Committee protest group has organised the "Bangkok shutdown," and a variety of their schemes took place on Monday, which was the first day of the protests. 140 were schools closed as students decided to stay at home, and Bangkok residents moved across the city, with some even stopping cars too.

Demonstrators have targeted several hugely popular tourist areas in Bangkok, and while most areas of the city remain completely unaffected, others have been ground to a halt. Protestors confirmed that will allow ambulances and other emergency services through their blockades though.

Despite these huge protests, the shutdown has been mainly peaceful so far. However, 20,000 security personnel have been employed to keep watch just in case an incident sparks a violent surge.

Amnesty International's Asia-Pacific deputy director, Isabelle Arradon, admitted last week that Bangkok is currently a "tense and volatile" area.

"The situation in Thailand is tense, volatile and unpredictable," she noted. "There is a real risk of loss of life and injury unless human rights are fully respected."

Ban Ki-moon, the U.N. Secretary General, tried to heal the fractions that have lead to the demonstrations on Friday. He confirmed that he had held a phone call with the Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and opposition leader Abhisit Vejjajiva over the previous 72 hours "in an effort to help them bridge their differences."

However, despite his best efforts, he said he was "very concerned that the situation could escalate in the days ahead." Moon admitted that he was particularly nervous that the events could escalate on Monday.

On online warning from Bangkok's U.S. Embassy has urged U.S. citizens to avoid the gatherings. It added, "While protests have been generally peaceful over the last two months, some have resulted in injury and death. Even demonstrations that are meant to be peaceful can turn confrontational, and can escalate into violence without warning."