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Thailand's Red Shirts says they are ready to defend gov't against threat to shut down Bangkok

Supporters of Thailand's beleaguered government say they're prepared to counter a threat by anti-government protesters to shut down Bangkok later this month.

Leaders of the so-called Red Shirt movement stopped short Thursday of calling for their members to take to the capital's streets to defend caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra's government from opponents who insist she step down and be replaced by an appointed government before new elections. Polls are scheduled for Feb. 2.

Jatuporn Promphan, a Red Shirt leader, said its networks have been told to get ready.

Yingluck's critics, led by the self-style People's Democratic Reform Committee, say reform is urgently needed to root out corruption and money politics. The TDRC vows to stop the government from working by causing traffic chaos in Bangkok on Jan. 13.