The Thai police on February 18 arrested Rawee Mashmadol, an anti-government protest leader, and about 100 other demonstrators in an operation to retake rally sites in Bangkok.

Head of the Thai National Security Council Paradorn Pattanatabut said that the demonstrators were seized without any resistance at the Energy Ministry complex on charge of violating the decree of emergency state.

He added that anti-government protesters had agreed to make way for officials to enter a government complex in the northern outskirts of Bangkok to return to work.

This is the first time such a large number of protesters have been arrested since mass rallies seeking to overthrow caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra began more than three months ago.

Since February 14, police have been deployed to retake the control at government sites occupied by protesters in Bangkok.

However, anti-government protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban on February 17 still led protesters to besiege the Government House to prevent the caretaker government from returning to work.

Chief of the Centre for Maintaining Peace and Order Chalerm Yoobamrung said on the same day that the government may take stronger actions as Suthep did not keep the commitment of staging demonstrations at designated sites.-VNA