Clashes in Bangkok leaves hundred injured
Many deaths and over 680 injuries have resulted from clashes between Red shirt protesters and government forces in the Thai capital Bangkok.
The deaths of 13 civilians, including a Japanese journalist, and four soldiers come after almost a month of protests.
Since March 12 Red shirts, so called because of their wearing of red as an identifying symbol, have occupied public spaces and have held rallies and marches in Bangkok in an attempt to force fresh elections.
According to eye witness reports the deaths and injuries are as a result of the police use of rubber bullets and tear gas against the protesters. To which the protesters responded with missiles, pushing and shoving and it is alleged firearms and small bombs.
The current clashes follow an attempt by the security forces to clear key areas in the city. A move seen as an attempt to restore authority and dignity to the security forces lost when the Red Shirts succeeded breaking of a security cordon around the Thaicom satellite television station on Friday.
Despite the courts ruling that the occupation of public spaces as being illegal and the issuing of 27 arrest warrants for the movements leaders, the protests had until today hitherto been peaceful if noisy with Thai security forces showing restraint in the policing of the protests, reluctant to cause bloodshed.
The Red shirts consider the Abhisit Vejjajiva administration to be illegitimate having never won an election, and as an undemocratic one imposed on the nation after the Yellow Shirts toppled an elected government, during the 2008–2009 Thai political crisis. Red Shirt leaders have called for Bhumibol Adulyadej, the King of Thailand, revered by both sides, to intervene and help end the stalemate.