Thai authorities will shut roads surrounding thousands of anti-government protesters on Thursday evening, sparking calls by demonstrators for reinforcements as tensions rise in the deadliest political crisis in 18 years.
The army will also bring in armored vehicles to bolster checkpoints, stopping any protesters from entering the area, and urged businesses on roads leading into the protesters' 3 sq-km (1.2 sq-mile) fortified encampment to close on Friday, Reuters informs.
PM Abhisit Vejjajiva is under severe pressure to end the protests, which have paralysed Bangkok since 14 March. The protesters, known as the red-shirts, want Mr Abhisit to dissolve parliament and call fresh elections.
He had offered polls on 14 November - but the two sides failed to agree a deal because of divisions over who should be held accountable for a deadly crackdown on protests last month, BBC News reports.
The decision to exclude Portugal, the country with one of the best records in managing Covid-19, is typical of a Government that has lost the plot