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Thai protest leader vows to escalate offensive

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By The Associated Press
Monday, Dec. 2, 2013, 8:06 p.m.
 

BANGKOK — A firebrand opposition leader vowed on Monday to escalate his campaign to topple Thailand's government and ordered his followers to storm Bangkok's police headquarters after they fought all day with riot police protecting heavily barricaded key buildings.

Earlier, Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra said she is willing to do anything it takes to end the violent protests but made it clear she cannot accept the opposition's demand to hand power to an unelected council. Yingluck was elected with an overwhelming majority in 2011, and many observers view the protesters' demand as unreasonable if not outlandish.

“Right now, we don't see any way to resolve the problem under the constitution,” she said in the brief 12-minute news conference televised live.

Yingluck's comments highlighted the unusual political deadlock Thailand finds itself in with no clear solution in sight. The standoff intensified as protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban gave a defiant speech to thousands of cheering supporters at a government complex they seized last week when the anti-government demonstrations started.

The protests have renewed fears of prolonged instability in Southeast Asia's second-biggest economy and occur just ahead of the peak holiday tourist season.

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