Thailand's Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said that Thai authorities would avoid initiating clashes at a mass anti-government rally planned for later Wednesday but that rioting in Bangkok's streets would not be tolerated.
More than 4,000 police were being deployed to the historic, northern district of Bangkok where the all-day protest was planned, with the army on standby and authorities urging the general public to avoid the area.
The protesters are supporters of ousted Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, whom they say was wrongfully deposed in a 2006 coup. Wednesday's rally comes after a two-week sit-in outside Abhisit's office to demand his resignation, and it could pose the biggest challenge yet to his four-month-old administration.
Police expect at least 80,000 people to gather, said Bangkok Police Chief Lt. Gen. Worapong Chiewpreecha.