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3 killed, 20 injured in Bangkok clashes
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08:28, September 02, 2008

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Three people were reportedly killed and 20 injured in the violent clashes occurred between pro-government supporters and anti-government protestors in central Bangkok early Tuesday, witnesses said.

Thai PBS TV station said that three persons were killed in the clashes. Initial reports said gun shots were heard. The state-run NBT TV said more than 20 people were injured.

There were dozens of injured persons, among which one was shot at chest while another has gunshot wounds, the doctor said. The injured were rushed to several nearby hospitals.

Sources told Xinhua that four groups of soldiers were moved out of their barracks around Bangkok in an attempt to quell the clashes on the streets in the city.

Army Commander in Chief Gen Anupong Paojinda has said he will deploy hundreds of soldiers armed with shields and batons to prevent the clashes from escalating.

Violence broke out after midnight when some 3,000 pro-government supporters led by the Democrat Alliance Against Dictatorship (DAAD), marched towards the Government House where has been occupied by protestors led by anti-government group People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD) since Aug. 26.

The pro-government supporters, mostly dressed in red clothes orwore red head-bands, armed with batons and knives, clashed with anti-government protestors who were equipped with similar weapons at the Pan Fa Bridge, about 300 meters away from the Government House.

The pro-government protesters began marching from their rally site at Sanam Luang (Royal Field) towards the Government House.

Thousands of policemen have been deployed near clash site.

Riot police with shields were seen at the Makkawan Bridge near the Government House, separating DAAD people and PAD protesters who camped inside the Government House compound.

The protestors are led by PAD, a civilian government coalition of political opponents against the government led by Prime Minister Samak Sundaradej, which has launched continuous rallies since May 25 in central Bangkok to pressure the step-down of the Samak administration. The PAD has called a "proxy" of the coup-ousted Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, the consistent target of the PAD since it took shape in 2005.

A joint Senate-House parliament special session was held on Sunday in a bid to sort out a peaceful solution to the current political impasse, but turned out another quarrel show between the opposition and government legislators.

The Army Chief had earlier insisted that the military would not interfere in the confrontation between the government and its protesters and said it was not due time to declare a state of emergency. 


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