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PHOTOS: Anti-government protests in Thailand turn violent

December 01, 2013 15:41 IST

Anti-government protests in Thailand turn violent, 5 killed

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Jaishree Balasubramanian in Bangkok

At least five people were killed and dozens injured in clashes between pro- and anti-government protesters in Bangkok on Sunday, as Thai police fired tear gas and water cannon to prevent demonstrators from storming the Government House to overthrow Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra.

The protests turned violent on Saturday and the clashes continued till Sunday morning.

Deputy Police Commissioner-General Veerapong Chiewpreecha said that five people, including a 21-year-old student and a government supporter, were killed inside the Ramkhamhaeng University.

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Image: An anti-government protester wearing national colours throws a rock during clashes with police near the Government House in Bangkok
Photographs: Damir Sagolj/Reuters

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Anti-government protests in Thailand turn violent, 5 killed

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Chiewpreecha said the exact number of injured could not be established, though reports said 45 people were wounded. He said a defused grenade was found inside the campus.

Red shirt leader Jatuporn Promphan has claimed that four government supporters were among the five victims.

About 2,000 students trapped inside the university were evacuated by the police on Sunday. Meanwhile, anti-government protesters, demanding the resignation of the Yingluck government, marched towards the Government House to seize all ministries and thereby paralyse the government functioning.

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Image: An anti-government protester uses a fire extinguisher during clashes with police near the Government House in Bangkok
Photographs: Kerek Wongsa/Reuters

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At least three tear gas canisters were fired at protesters at Chamai Maruchet Bridge as they were trying to march to the Government House. Meanwhile, Suthep Thaugsuban, a former opposition Democrat MP, told his supporters to "move quick" to prevent officers from getting prepared.

"Today is an important day. We'll go to anywhere that is important to the government and we'll paralyse it from tomorrow (Monday) onwards because nobody will be able to work tomorrow," he said.

Anti-government protesters on Sunday took control of Thai PBS telvision station while another group managed to break through barriers to enter the compound of the interior ministry.

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Image: Anti-government protesters tear down barricades during a demonstration outside Government House in Bangkok
Photographs: Dylan Martinez/Reuters

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Meanwhile, red shirts, pro-government supporters, left the Rajmangala stadium where they had been camping and returned home to let the police handle the anti government protesters.

Satit Wongnongtaey, an anti-government protest leader, announced that protesters were moving to eight destinations, including Channel 3, Channel 5, Channel 7, MCOT and NBT.          Although Thai PBS was not one of the protester's initial targets, Sakoltee Phattiyakul, a protest leader, had suddenly changed his plan to occupy at Thai PBS at 10.50 am (local time).

Sakoltee called on the Thai PBS broadcast committee to provide a broadcast link to the Government Complex rally site so that the protest leaders could reach statements live.

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Image: An anti-government protester drinks coffee while holding a sign during a rally at a government complex in Bangkok
Photographs: Chaiwat Subprasom/Reuters

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Anti-government protests in Thailand turn violent, 5 killed

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For the past week, thousands of protesters have marched in Bangkok in a bid to unseat Yingluck, whom they accuse of acting as a proxy for her fugitive brother and former premier Thaksin Shinwatra.

The country is facing its largest protests since 2010, when thousands of "red shirt" Thaksin supporters occupied key parts of the capital. More than 90 people, mostly civilian protesters, died over the course of the two-month sit-in.

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Image: An anti-government protester gestures from behind a barricade during clashes with police near the Government House in Bangkok
Photographs: Damir Sagolj/Reuters

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