Thai police clash with protesters

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Several thousand protesters opposed to Thailand’s military-backed government have clashed with police in the capital, Bangkok.

The crowd staged a rally outside the house of Prem Tinsulanonda, a senior adviser to Thailand’s king.

The protesters say Mr Prem was behind a bloodless coup which removed former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra.

Rocks and bottles of water were thrown at police, in the most violent demonstration since the 2006 coup.

Protesters, mostly supporters of the ousted Mr Thaksin, have been holding nightly rallies in Bangkok since early June.

Clashes broke out after they marched to demonstrate outside Mr Prem’s house on Sunday evening and anti-riot police tried to disperse them.

Several people, including police officers, were taken to hospital with minor injuries.

Bangkok police officials said they would issue arrest warrants for the protest leaders on Monday.

Thai police charge 6 after anti-coup protest turns violent in Bangkok


BANGKOK: Hours after a protest that turned into a three-hour melee that injured at least 270 people, Thailand on Monday charged six people in connection with the incident, the most violent anti-coup demonstrations to hit Thailand since the military takeover last year.

Thousands of protesters and police officers squared off Sunday in the Thai capital, leaving about 200 officers and 70 demonstrators injured.

The protest against Thailand’s military-installed government took place outside the home of former Prime Minister Prem Tinsulanonda, said the Bangkok police chief, Lieutenant General Adisorn Nontree.

Two police officers were severely injured, Adisorn said in an interview by telephone.

Several thousand people rallied outside the house of Prem, whom the protesters accused of instigating the coup that overthrew Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra in September. They called for Prem, who was home at the time, to resign as top adviser to King Bhumibol Adulyadej.

A police official said that six suspects had been charged with “causing chaos, obstructing the work of authorities, and damage of state property, and they include a protest leader.”

Adisorn said officials would seek arrest warrants Monday or Tuesday for eight more organizers of the rally, six of whom were top members of Thaksin’s now disbanded Thai Rak Thai party.

The most serious fighting occurred when the police tried to detain protest leaders as they spoke from a makeshift stage on top of a truck.

After the first police effort to detain the protest leaders failed, the crowd began throwing bottles and other objects at the security forces as they retreated.

Sporadic charges by police officers using pepper spray set off street fighting and chases through the area, a usually quiet Bangkok district filled with military and government offices, far from commercial areas of the Thai capital.

About 2,000 police officers battled as many as 5,000 protesters in the demonstration, said Colonel Sansern Kaewkamnerd, a spokesman for the military’s Council for National Security.

The council comprises the top military officers who helped foment the coup, and it remains the power behind the interim government that was subsequently installed. New elections are expected in December.

The demonstrators left the area voluntarily about three hours after the violence began.

The Sept. 19 coup came after a series of popular protests calling for Thaksin to resign amid accusations of corruption and abuse of power. An interim government led by a respected former army commander, Surayud Chulanont, was appointed to oversee elections, along with a committee to draft a new constitution.

But in recent months, the popularity of the military-installed government has declined and there have been increasing calls for a relaxation of political and social restrictions.

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