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April 9, 2010

Unrest in Thailand

After nearly a month of protests by Thailand's Red Shirt anti-government movement, the situation in Bangkok has escalated in the last week. Though most of the past month's protests have been peaceful, earlier this week, Red Shirt protesters briefly stormed and held the parliament building. In response, Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva declared a state of emergency on Wednesday, giving broader powers to security forces to quell the protests. When the government shut down an opposition TV channel, protesters today seized control of a transmission station in the first violent clash of the recent conflict. The Red Shirts are calling for new elections, and are largely supporters of former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who was ousted in a military coup in September 2006. (34 photos total)

Anti-government demonstrators, in red, walk near a police line Tuesday, April 6, 2010, in downtown Bangkok, Thailand. Anti-government demonstrators briefly engaged in a pushing match with police, pelting them with eggs and water bottles before backing off. Protest leaders have defied a government order to vacate the commercial heart of Bangkok as they try to pressure Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva to relinquish power. (AP Photo/Wason Waintchakorn)

Thousands of Red shirt supporters of former PM Thaksin Shinawatra take up the street on their motorcycles during a protest for a fourth day by taking over the streets of the city's main shopping district forcing the closure of the malls April 6, 2010 in Bangkok,Thailand. The anti-government demonstrators takeover of Bangkok's Ratchaprasong business and shopping area has caused a daily economic loss estimated at Bt200-300 million (US$ 6-9 million). Red shirts are still demanding fresh elections. (Athit Perawongmetha/Getty Images) #

Soldiers stand guard during a rally by anti-government protesters near Thaicom Teleport and DTH Center in Pathum Thani on the outskirts of Bangkok April 8, 2010. Thai protesters scuffled with riot police outside a satellite broadcaster on Thursday after the government blocked opposition websites and TV channels on the second day of a state of emergency to quell mass protests. (REUTERS/Chaiwat Subprasom) #

Anti-government protesters, in red, use barriers to push back riot policemen during a demonstration in Bangkok, Thailand, Tuesday, April 6, 2010. Thousands of anti-government demonstrators clashed with Thai police and military troops trying to prevent them from leaving from the capital's commercial district to stage protests elsewhere in Bangkok. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit) #

A protester, who supports ousted Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, wipes the face of a Thai soldier as soldiers retreated from a street during an anti-government demonstration Tuesday, April 6, 2010 in Bangkok, Thailand. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu) #

Protesters and supporters of ousted Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra hold up rifles they seized from Thai soldiers after they stormed the Thaicom satellite station during a demonstration Friday, April 9, 2010 in Pathum Thani province, Thailand. (AP Photo) #

Anti-government protesters return weapons they snatched from security at Parliament to the police in Bangkok April 7, 2010. "Red shirt" protesters briefly occupied the grounds of Thailand's parliament on Wednesday as they stepped up pressure on the government to call an election. Hundreds of protesters, who have already forced the capital's main shopping district to close since Saturday, pushed through a thin line of riot police, but then left after about 20 minutes and massed outside the building. (REUTERS/Sukree Sukplang) #

An anti-government demonstrator smiles as he attends a rally Thursday, April 8, 2010, in Bangkok, Thailand. Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva has declared a state of emergency to quell weeks of paralyzing protest that are costing the kingdom's businesses tens of millions of dollars. The Red Shirts, however, continue to defy the government and are planning more demonstrations throughout the weekend. (AP Photo/David Longstreath) #

Police officers stand guard outside a fast food restaurant in downtown Bangkok, Thailand, as anti-government demonstrators flood the streets of the capital after breaking through police and military lines Tuesday, April 6, 2010. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu) #

Thousands of Red shirt supporters of former PM Thaksin Shinawatra's stand to salute the King as they defy the government for a fourth day by taking over the streets of the city's main shopping district forcing the closure of the malls April 6, 2010 in Bangkok,Thailand. (Paula Bronstein /Getty Images) #

Protesters and supporters of ousted Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra push their way against Thai soldiers guarding the Thaicom satellite station during an anti-government demonstration Friday, April 9, 2010 in Pathum Thani province, Thailand. (AP Photo/Apichart Weerawong) #

Thailand's Member of Parliament Varong Dejkijvikrom of the Democrat Party, right, holds the ladder for an unidentified woman official as they flee the Parliament before anti-government protesters storm the building Wednesday, April 7, 2010 in Bangkok, Thailand. Emboldened anti-government protesters briefly stormed Thailand's Parliament building Wednesday as lawmakers scaled walls to flee and a Black Hawk helicopter evacuated VIPs trapped by the encircling crowd, officials said. (AP Photo) #

Soldiers shield themselves from rocks thrown by Red Shirt supporters of former PM Thaksin Shinawatra at a television satellite center on April 09, 2010 in Bangkok, Thailand. Tear gas was fired at protesters as they stormed the ThaiCom satellite television compound to demand the government restore the People Channel television station. The government switched off the signal of the channel a day earlier, accusing it of 'spreading false information.' (Athit Perawongmetha/Getty Images) #

A Thai army soldier lies on the ground after he was pulled from a vehicle mounted with a water cannon during a fight with anti-government "red shirt" protesters at Thaicom Teleport and DTH Center on the outskirts of Bangkok in Pathum Thani province April 9, 2010. (REUTERS/Sukree Sukplang) #

Anti-government "red shirt" protesters seize equipment from a police truck at Thaicom Teleport and DTH Center on the outskirts of Bangkok in Pathum Thani province April 9, 2010. Thai protesters stormed a satellite station on Friday, breaching an army cordon and demanding officials lift censorship of their TV channel in the first major confrontation in a three-day state of emergency. (REUTERS/Damir Sagolj) #

Thai army soldiers and an anti-government "red shirt" protester attend to an injured soldier after fighting between the two sides at Thaicom Teleport and DTH Center on the outskirts of Bangkok in Pathum Thani province April 9, 2010. (REUTERS/Damir Sagolj) #

A Thai soldier is surrounded by anti-government "red shirt" protesters as they storm the Thaicom Teleport and DTH Center on the outskirts of Bangkok in Pathum Thani province April 9, 2010. (REUTERS/Damir Sagolj) #

A red shirt supporter of former PM Thaksin Shinawatra is seen through a broken windshield at a television satellite center on April 09, 2010 in Bangkok, Thailand. (Athit Perawongmetha/Getty Images) #

Anti-government protesters scuffle with riot police as they try to contain them at the Police General Hospital near the site of a rally in central Bangkok on April 9, 2010. Thai authorities mobilized tens of thousands more security personnel to contain mass rallies which have highlighted Thailand's deep rift pitting Bangkok's ruling elite against the mainly poor and rural Reds. (CHRISTOPHE ARCHAMBAULT/AFP/Getty Images) #

Protesters and supporters of ousted Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra scuffle with Thai soldiers as they push their way in to the Thaicom satellite station during an anti-government demonstration Friday, April 9, 2010 in Pathum Thani province, Thailand. (AP Photo/Apichart Weerawong) #

Soldiers clash with Red Shirt supporters of former PM Thaksin Shinawatra at a television satellite center on April 09, 2010 in Bangkok, Thailand. (Athit Perawongmetha/Getty Images) #

Thai riot police stand alert after scuffling with anti-government protesters at the Police General Hospital near the site of a rally in central Bangkok on April 9, 2010. (CHRISTOPHE ARCHAMBAULT/AFP/Getty Images) #

Flames rise after a fire bomb was hurled at soldiers guarding the Thaicom satellite station before protesters and supporters of ousted Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra stormed and seized the station Friday, April 9, 2010 in Pathum Thani province, Thailand. (AP Photo) #

Thai soldiers protect themselves from stones thrown by anti-government protesters in Pathum Thani, north of Bangkok, Thailand, Friday, April 9, 2010. (AP Photo/Wason Waniichakorn) #

Buddhist monks pray as they stand in a line between anti-government protesters and riot police following scuffles at the Police General Hospital near the site of a rally in central Bangkok on April 9, 2010. (CHRISTOPHE ARCHAMBAULT/AFP/Getty Images) #

Red Shirt supporters of former PM Thaksin Shinawatra and soldiers are separated by barbed wire at a television satellite center on April 09, 2010 in Bangkok, Thailand. Tear gas was fired at protesters as they stormed the Thai Com satellite television compound to demand the government restore the People Channel television station. The government switched off the signal of the channel a day earlier, accusing it of "spreading false information." (Athit Perawongmetha/Getty Images) #

Riot policewomen stand behind their shields after anti-government protesters scuffled with riot police at the Police General Hospital near the site of a rally in central Bangkok on April 9, 2010. (CHRISTOPHE ARCHAMBAULT/AFP/Getty Images) #

Red Shirt supporters of former PM Thaksin Shinawatra throw rocks at soldiers at a television satellite center on April 09, 2010 in Bangkok,Thailand. Tear gas was fired at protesters as they stormed the ThaiCom satellite television compound to demand the government restore the People Channel television station. (Athit Perawongmetha/Getty Images) #

Thai army soldiers advance towards anti-government "red shirt" protesters at Thaicom Teleport and DTH Center on the outskirts of Bangkok in Pathum Thani province April 9, 2010. (REUTERS/Damir Sagolj) #

A press photographer takes photos of an anti-government protester who was injured after Thai soldiers fired tear gas at the Thaicom teleport center in Pathum Thani province, north of Bangkok, on Friday April 9, 2010. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit) #

A Thai soldier aims his weapon at Red Shirt protesters during clashes at Thaicom station in Pathum Thani on the outskirts of Bangkok on April 9, 2010. (ROSLAN RAHMAN/AFP/Getty Images) #

Thai soldiers are greeted by protesters and supporters of ousted Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra as they retreat from the Thaicom satellite station when protesters stormed the station in a demonstration in Pathum Thani province, north of Bangkok, on Friday April 9, 2010. (AP Photo/Apichart Weerawong) #

Weapons seized from Thai riot policemen by Red Shirt protesters are returned after clashes at Thaicom station in Pathum Thani on the outskirts of Bangkok on April 9, 2010. Thai security forces used tear gas and water cannon against anti-government protesters who stormed a television station on the outskirts of Bangkok, an AFP reporter witnessed. (ROSLAN RAHMAN/AFP/Getty Images) #

Protesters and supporters of ousted Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra celebrate after they seized the Thaicom satellite station in Pathum Thani province, Thailand Friday, April 9, 2010. (AP Photo/Apichart Weerawong) #

 
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