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May 19, 2010

Crackdown in Bangkok

Earlier today, soldiers from the Thai Army broke down barricades and entered the fortified camp occupied by anti-government Red Shirt protesters for the past several weeks in downtown Bangkok. Several clashes took place, and Red Shirt leaders announced to their followers that they were surrendering to police as the soldiers approached. Many protesters dispersed, but some continued to battle with grenades, guns, slingshots and fire, setting as many as 20 locations ablaze in central Bangkok. At this stage, it is unclear how many have been killed or injured, but at least five are known to have died, with dozens more injured. Thai authorities have imposed a curfew as they battle fires, process detainees and clear the rest of the Red Shirt encampment. (39 photos total)

Thai soldiers storm through the barricade of anti-government protesters on Wednesday, May 19, 2010, in Bangkok, Thailand. Downtown Bangkok became a raging battleground Wednesday as the army stormed a barricaded protest camp and toppled the Red Shirt leadership, enraging demonstrators who fired grenades and set fires that cloaked the skyline in a black haze. (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E )

Thick black smoke billows through the air behind the main Chulalongkorn hospital near the Red Shirt encampment on Wednesday May 19, 2010 in Bangkok, Thailand. (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E ) #

Thai Security forces take cover behind an armored personnel carrier as they advance toward protesters on May 19, 2010 in Bangkok, Thailand. (Athit Perawongmetha/Getty Images) #

Firemen douse a fire at a barricade of Lumpini Park put up by anti-government protesters in downtown Bangkok, Thailand, Wednesday, May 19, 2010. (AP Photo/ Manish Swarup) #

Thai soldiers make their way toward an anti-government barricade during a military crackdown Wednesday, May 19, 2010, in Bangkok, Thailand. (AP Photo/Wason Wanichakorn) #

An armored personnel carrier moves toward a burning anti-government barricade during a military crackdown Wednesday, May 19, 2010, in Bangkok, Thailand. (AP Photo/Wason Wanichakorn) #

Thai soldiers and journalists run towards cover near an anti-government barricade on Wednesday May 19, 2010 in Bangkok, Thailand. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu) #

An armored vehicle breaks through a Red Shirt barricade on Wednesday May 19, 2010 in Bangkok, Thailand. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu) #

A group of hardline Thai Red Shirt anti-government protesters take cover behind a wall as they fight with security forces in downtown Bangkok on May 19, 2010. (BAY ISMOYO/AFP/Getty Images) #

A Thai soldier fires his weapon towards Red Shirt protesters inside their camp in Bangkok on May 19, 2010. (MANAN VATSYAYANA/AFP/Getty Images) #

Red Shirt anti-government protest leaders announce their surrender to a gathered crowd from the stage inside the protesters' camp in downtown Bangkok on May 19, 2010. Thai protest leaders surrendered and told thousands of Red Shirt supporters to end their weeks-long rally after an army assault on their fortified encampment. (PORNCHAI KITTIWONGSAKUL/AFP/Getty Images) #

Red Shirt anti-government protesters scream and burst into tears as their leaders announce to the crowd their surrender in downtown Bangkok on May 19, 2010. (NICOLAS ASFOURI/AFP/Getty Images) #

Red Shirt protesters leave the main stage and climb over walls to take cover in a hospital after their leaders announced their surrender in Bangkok on May 19, 2010. (NICOLAS ASFOURI/AFP/Getty Images) #

Thai military move in on the Red Shirt camp during an early morning siege on May 19, 2010 in Bangkok, Thailand. (Paula Bronstein/Getty Images) #

A detainee lies on the ground during an operation to evict anti-government Red Shirt protesters from their encampment in Bangkok May 19, 2010. (REUTERS/Sukree Sukplang) #

A Buddhist monk who was detained by Thai army soldiers sits with his hands tied during an operation to evict Red Shirt protesters from their encampment in Bangkok May 19, 2010. (REUTERS/Damir Sagolj) #

An anti-government protester piles tires on a fire at a shopping center Wednesday, May 19, 2010, in Bangkok, Thailand. (AP Photo/Wally Santana) #

Smoke billows from fires in a commercial area of Bangkok where Red Shirt demonstrators had their camp on May 19, 2010. Thai fire authorities said that arsonists have set 20 locations ablaze in Bangkok, including a massive shopping mall and bank branches. (MANAN VATSYAYANA/AFP/Getty Images) #

The body of a protester who was killed during an operation to evict Red Shirt protesters from their encampment lies in the street in front of a burning barricade in Bangkok May 19, 2010. (REUTERS/Damir Sagolj) #

Thai security forces shoot towards Red Shirt protesters in their encampment on May 19, 2010 in Bangkok, Thailand. (Athit Perawongmetha/Getty Images) #

Journalists lie down and take cover during a gun battle between Thai army and anti-government protesters at Lumpini park in downtown Bangkok, Thailand, Wednesday, May 19, 2010. (AP Photo/ Manish Swarup) #

Canadian journalist Chandler Vandergrift (left) lies wounded near injured Thai soldiers after they were hit by a grenade on May 19, 2010 in Bangkok, Thailand. (Athit Perawongmetha/Getty Images) #

Thai firefighters work to control a fire on Wednesday, May 19, 2010, in Bangkok Thailand. (AP Photo/Wason Wanichakorn) #

Thai soldiers march past the body of a Red Shirt protester during the early morning attack on the red shirt camp May 19, 2010 in Bangkok, Thailand. (Paula Bronstein/Getty Images) #

The City Hall building burns after it was set on fire by Red Shirt protesters in Ubon Ratchathani province, north-east of Bangkok, May 19, 2010. Rioting and fires swept Bangkok on Wednesday after troops stormed a protest encampment, forcing protest leaders to surrender, but sparking clashes in Bangkok and triggering other unrest in northern Thailand. (REUTERS/Stringer) #

Blindfolded detainees sit on the ground during an operation to evict Red Shirt protesters from their encampment in Bangkok May 19, 2010. (REUTERS/Kerek Wongsa) #

A Thai soldier stands in front of photographs put up by protesters in the Red Shirt encampment in Bangkok May 19, 2010. (REUTERS/Sukree Sukplang) #

Thai soldiers carry a wounded comrade from the Red Shirt camp in Bangkok on May 19, 2010. (PEDRO UGARTE/AFP/Getty Images) #

A Red Shirt protester throws a rock at a burning shopping mall on Wednesday, May 19, 2010. (AP Photo/Wason Wanichakorn) #

A statue and a torn Thai national flag remain in front of Bangkok's Central World shopping mall, which was gutted by fire after army soldiers advanced towards an encampment of thousands of Red Shirt protesters, May 19, 2010. (REUTERS/Adrees Latif) #

A person takes a photograph of deserted Lumpini Park following a crackdown on anti-government protesters, in downtown Bangkok, Thailand, Wednesday, May 19, 2010. (AP Photo/ Manish Swarup) #

A Red Shirt protester sits alone in the deserted protest camp after the leaders of the movement announced their surrender in downtown Bangkok on May 19, 2010. (BAY ISMOYO/AFP/Getty Images) #

Blindfolded detainees lie on the ground during an eviction operation in Bangkok on May 19, 2010. (REUTERS/Damir Sagolj) #

Freelance photographer Fabio Polenghi, 48, of Italy lies on a stretcher at Police Headquarter Hospital Wednesday, May 19, 2010, in Bangkok, Thailand, after being shot during a government crackdown on anti-government protestors. Polenghi was later pronounced dead by Thai doctors. (AP Photo/Wally Santana) #

Thai soldiers shoot rubber bullets towards protesters inside their camp in downtown Bangkok on May 19, 2010. (BAY ISMOYO/AFP/Getty Images) #

A front-end loader removes debris from the dismantled main barricade set up by Red Shirt protesters on Wednesday, May 19, 2010 in Bangkok, Thailand. (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E) #

Red Shirt supporters rescue a fellow protester who was shot after army soldiers penetrated a barricade where thousands of protesters were encamped in Bangkok May 19, 2010. At least two other protesters lie injured on the sidewalk in the background. (REUTERS/Adrees Latif) #

A Red Shirt protester who had been shot in the head is carried into a hospital on Wednesday, May 19, 2010, in Bangkok, Thailand. (AP Photo/Wally Santana) #

Smoke rises from fires burning in downtown Bangkok, Thailand, following the surrender of anti-government leaders and capture of their encampment, Wednesday May 19, 2010. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu) #

 
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