- Title: THAILAND: Troops fire on "red shirt" protesters near U.N.
- Date: 11th April 2010
- Summary: BANGKOK, THAILAND (APRIL 10, 2010) (REUTERS) PEOPLE WALKING DOWN SKYTRAIN PEOPLE GATHERING AT SKYTRAIN STATION GATE BEING CLOSED AT SKYTRAIN STATION CLOSED SIGN AT SKYTRAIN ENTRANCE GATE BEING CLOSED SECURITY GUARD WALKING
- Embargoed: 26th April 2010 13:00
- Location: Thailand
- Country: Thailand
- Topics: Crime / Law Enforcement,Domestic Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA3O3VARJLWKEF0NPINI38HMOYK
- Story Text: Thai troops fired rubber bullets at opposition "red shirts" on Saturday (April 10) outside the United Nations building as they moved in to clear a protest site in the biggest confrontation in the month-long campaign for new elections, witnesses said.
At least 93 people, including 22 soldiers and police, were injured in a series of clashes near the Phan Fah bridge and Rajdumnoen Road, near several government and army buildings and the regional U.N. headquarters, hospital officials said.
At least five suffered gunshot wounds, including a freelance photographer shot in the stomach, hospital officials said.
Troops were given orders to "reclaim" the area three days after a state of emergency was declared.
The army spokesman said the troops had been chasing protesters down Rajdumnoen Road, the area where red-shirted have been camping out since Mar. 14, by using tear gas, warning shots into the air and smoke bombs.
Scores of protesters, some throwing rocks and glass bottles, tried earlier to force their way into an army base at Phan Fah bridge but were repelled by water cannon.
Troops using tear gas and batons then advanced towards the red shirts from several directions nearby.
Soldiers have also massed at the main protest site in the upmarket Rachaprasong hotel and shopping area, apparently ready to move in and disperse an estimated 8,000 red shirts, including women and children, who used taxis to barricade themselves in.
The numbers were growing by the hour, with protest leaders rallying people to the main site, claiming safety in numbers.
The government spokesman Panitan Wattanayagorn said the government wanted to bring normalcy back to the capital.
"The important objective of the government is to return the areas to the general people. We aim to ease the situation and to bring things back to normal in the area of Phan Fah bridge and Rajdumnoen road as soon as possible, so the people can have a normal life again," he said during a live television broadcast.
Meanwhile, the Bangkok's overhead Skytrain closed down because of the"red shirt" protests. A Skytrain company official said he did not know how long the service would be closed.
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