Dispersion operation begins in Thailand as armored vehicles crush red-shirts' blockade

10:51, May 19, 2010      

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Red shirt Thai troops and an armoured vehicle take up their positions on a deserted road at the entrance of the business district during a rally by anti-government "red shirt" protesters in Bangkok May 19, 2010. (Xinhua/Reuters Photo)

The armored vehicles broke through the blockade of the red-shirt at Lumpini Park area in downtown Bangkok at about 8 a.m. Wednesday as the troops' dispersion operation kicked off.

At Sala Daeng area, not far from Lumpini, the troops were trying to break red-shirts defense and the protesters fired RPG rockets at the armored vihicles in retaliation.

The possibility of peace talks has been ruled out and the only option left for the red-shirts leaders is to surrender and enter the justice process, said the prime minister's secretary-general Korbsak Sabhavasu said in a television interview soon after the operation began.

At least one "red-shirt" was shot and wounded in the clashes in Lumpini Park, south of the sealed-off protest zone, as the troops were trying to moving forward.

Red-shirts fought back in some areas as gunshots were firing at the troops on Road Rama 4 from the protest zone. The authorities earlier reported two people were injured in the clashes and had been sent to the General Police Hospital. One Thai journalist in the field was reported injured.

At the center of the protest zone, Ratchaprasong intersection, the "red-shirts" took shelter in the nearby buildings along the street and their leaders called on people to keep calm.

Thousands of "red-shirts" remain at Ratchaprasong, defying a deadline by the government demanding them to leave by 3 p.m. Tuesday.

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