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Troops close down Bangkok stations
Bangkok, Apr 27 (Agencies):
Published on 27 Apr. 2010 11:52 PM IST
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Troops shut down railway stations in Bangkok after anti-government protesters broke into a station and threw tyres on the platform in their campaign for immediate elections.
The closure coincided with the capital’s morning rush hour, causing commuter chaos and concern in the tense capital at the sight of hundreds of soldiers armed with automatic weapons guarding stations and scattered along major boulevards.
Government spokesman Panitan Wattanayagorn said security forces were sent to negotiate with protesters to remove the tyres and it was not immediately clear when train services would resume. Police Maj Gen Anuchai Lekbumrung said protesters had agreed to remove the tyres.
“We talked to the Red Shirt leaders, and the guards and they have removed the tyres,” he said. “They placed the tyres on the platform, not on the tracks.”
Protesters are demanding that prime minister Abhisit Vejjajiva dissolve parliament and call fresh elections.
At least 26 people have been killed and nearly 1,000 wounded since anti-government protesters known as the Red Shirts began occupying parts of Bangkok in mid-March, closing down five-star hotels and shopping malls and devastating the country’s vital tourism industry.
The government has repeatedly said it hopes to resolve the political crisis peacefully, despite a breakdown in negotiations, but says it will not allow the protests to go on indefinitely or let the protesters occupy more areas of the capital.
In at least six places across the country, Red Shirt supporters scattered nails along roads, set up checkpoints and searched vans and buses for police officers headed to the capital.
Some police heading to Bangkok were forced to return to their bases, while police in the central province of Phitsanulok, impatient after a five-hour stand-off with the Red Shirts, broke through a cordon of protesters who hurled rocks and wooden sticks at them, Thai media said.

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