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January 05, 2014 AT 1:09 PM
Thailand is heading for a political showdown as protesters plan to shut down Bangkok next week to sabotage an election while the government's supporters have vowed to stage massive counter-rallies in the country's provinces. Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra is facing swelling opposition in Bangkok ahead of the February 2 election in which her supporters in the rural north and northeast are expected to return her to power - if the vote goes ahead. Protesters want an appointed "people's council" to oversee a vague reform platform, which includes electoral changes and decentralizing power over a 12-month period before any election. Thousands of demonstrators marched through Bangkok on Sunday as a prelude to rallies starting on January 13, when they plan to block government offices and occupy key intersections for days in a bid to force Yingluck out and scuttle the poll.