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Thai troops begin to clear "Red Shirt" rally site in Bangkok

05-14-2010 13:45 BJT

BANGKOK, May 14 (Xinhua) -- Thai security forces Friday began to clear part of the capital of anti-government "Red Shirt" protesters following the violent clashes between troops and protestors last night in Bangkok.

Gunfire shots were heard in the Thai capital near an anti- government rally site. Thai troops fired tear gas to disperse some protesters who had set up a checkpoint outside a Bangkok night market.

The Thai army on Thursday night clashed with hardline "red- shirts" protesters, leaving one killed and over 10 people injured.

The clashes occurred around 08:40 p.m. (0140 GMT) after demonstrators were trying to remove the orange cones used to block traffic, the TPBS TV said. Then protesters tried to prevent the army from coming out of the Lumpini park, some 2km from the "red- shirts" rally site, by putting bonsai in front of one of the park' s gates.

Shortly after that, gunshots were heard when the army fired rubber bullets to disperse the protesters, leaving many injured, the TPBS said. One protester was shot in the head and killed.

An anti-government leader, Maj-General Khattiya Sawasdipol, was also shot and suffered a severe gun wound on his head.

The clash came after Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva decided to end the two-month standoff following his withdrawal of the Nov. 14 election proposal Thursday.

Abhisit proposed his reconciliation roadmap and offered the Nov. 14 poll date on May 3. He later announced house dissolution date between Sept. 15 to 30.

"Red-shirts" movement accepted the house dissolution and poll date but refused to end the two-month-long rally unless Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thuangsuban surrenders to police.

On Thursday night, the Centre for Resolution of Emergency Situation (CRES) declared extension of state of emergency to more provinces, in addition to existing areas in capital Bangkok and nearby provinces, which was announced on April 7, 2010.

These additional provinces include eastern Chonburi province, northern Chiang Mai province, northeastern Udon Thani, and Nakhon Ratchasima province.

The state of emergency, which took effect immediately after it was announced, is imposed in a bid to ensure security for the general public. Also, cellphone signals around the Rathchaprasong area have been blocked.


Editor:Zhang Pengfei |Source: Xinhua

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