Demonstrators opposing Yingluck Shinawatra's leadership barricaded the gate of Government House in Bangkok on Monday, in defiance of authorities attempting to reclaim the zone to allow the prime minister to return to work, according to a report by Agence France-Presse.
Protesters poured buckets of cement, made a wall of sandbags in front of the gate, and fortified the area with barricades of rubber tires, an AFP photographer reportedly said. After more than three months of protests in the country aimed at toppling Yingluck's administration, the Thai government is trying to regain control of major official buildings. Meanwhile, Yingluck who has been unable to use Government House -- which houses the offices of the country's prime minister and cabinet officials -- for about two months, has been working out of other locations across the capital.
"We will not let them (the government) come back to work because we do not want them. Yingluck will never have a chance to work at the Government House again," protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban said from a podium outside Government House, according to AFP.
On Friday, riot police had evacuated the area by clearing tents and sandbags, with little resistance from protesters. Later though, demonstrators returned to the area and rebuilt the barricades without being opposed by the authorities. According to AFP, it portrayed a change in tactics following long periods of time when demonstrators appeared to have the upper hand.
Labor Minister Chalerm Yubamrung reportedly said that the police will take “soft measures” to ensure the government takes back five official sites this week without triggering political violence, which has so far left 11 people dead and several injured.
While the opposition party has accused Yingluck's government of being controlled by her brother, Thaksin, who has been living in Dubai after being convicted of corruption, critics have also expressed concerns about populist measures adopted by the government, which have cost Thailand billions of dollars.
Political parties that support Thaksin have won elections steadily for more than a decade due to strong support from the country’s rural north and northeast. However, Yingluck has angered rice farmers who have not been paid for the crops they pledged to a state-subsidy scheme.
"We will spend the night here. We will stay until we can talk to the prime minister. But we will not raid the building," Rawee Rungroeng, a leader of the farmers, told AFP.