Even though the elections are expected to proceed smoothly in most of the country, it will end up being a hollow exercise and will not result in the formation of a new government for a number of reasons.
For them, Yingluck, 46, is the hated puppet of her billionaire elder brother Thaksin, who was ousted as prime minister in a 2006 military coup and now lives abroad to avoid a two-year jail sentence for corruption.
The emergency decree gives security agencies broad powers to impose curfews, detain suspects without charge, censor media, ban political gatherings of more than five people and declare parts of the country off limits.
The coup touched off a societal schism that in broad terms pits the majority rural poor, who back the Shinawatras, against an urban-based elite establishment that draws support from the army and staunch royalists who see Yingluck's family as a corrupt threat to their power.
The marches appeared to be a way to maintain momentum amid a decline in the number of protesters who have blocked key intersections in Bangkok for four days now in an attempt to shut down the government of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra.
Yingluck Shinawatra proposed to meet on Wednesday with various groups — including her opponents — to discuss a proposal from the Election Commission to postpone the February vote
The turmoil is the latest episode in an eight-year conflict that pits Bangkok's middle class and royalist establishment against the mostly poorer, rural supporters of Yingluck and her brother, former premier Thaksin Shinawatra, who was overthrown in a military coup in 2006.
Officers fired tear gas and rubber bullets toward protesters trying to get into a sports stadium where candidates were gathering to draw lots for their position on polling papers.
Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra said Tuesday she would not resign ahead of national elections set for Feb. 2, despite opposition demands she step down as the caretaker head of government.
Thailand's political crisis took an unexpected turn Monday when Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra said she would dissolve the lower house of Parliament and call early elections.
In a televised news conference Monday, Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra made it clear that she will not step down as demanded by anti-government protesters.
The protests, aimed at toppling the government of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, have renewed fears of prolonged instability in one of Southeast Asia's biggest economies and come just ahead of the peak holiday tourist season.
Mobs also besieged at least three television stations demanding they broadcast the protesters' views and not the government's. One of those TV stations is government run, the other is owned by the military and the third is independent.
Police guarded Thailand's seat of government and other key locations and braced for more violence on Sunday.
Thailand's embattled prime minister easily survived a no-confidence vote in parliament on Thursday, as a wave of simmering protests aimed at bringing down her government entered the fifth day.
Thai authorities charged former Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva on Thursday with giving orders to use live ammunition that led to civilian deaths during a military crackdown on an anti-government protest in May 2010.
Thailand will deploy 17,000 police officers and has invoked a special security law for what authorities expect will be the largest anti-government protest since Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra took office in 2011.