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Thai protesters storm Bangkok hospital
Bangkok, Apr 30 (Agencies)
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Published on 30 Apr. 2010 11:37 PM IST
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Patients have been evacuated from a hospital in the Thai capital, Bangkok, after anti-government demonstrators forced their way into the grounds.
The red-shirts, looking for soldiers they thought were hiding there, later apologised for the incident.
In a TV address, Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva has said he will not tolerate further violence by the reds, but gave no indication of any planned action. The red-shirts are pressing the Thai government to call early elections.
Patients at the Chulalongkorn hospital were sent to other hospitals and all except emergency services had to be suspended after the brief incursion by about 100 red-shirts on Thursday night. But the action was quickly disowned by the protesters’ leadership.
“On behalf of all leaders, I apologise to the public and Chulalongkorn hospital for the incident,” one of the red-shirt leaders Dr Weng Tojirakarn said. “The situation got out of control. It is not our policy to obstruct hospital operations,” he said.
The hospital management has asked troops to stay away from the hospital as it wishes to remain impartial. The hospital is located in a part of the capital where troops have been deployed to prevent red-shirt incursions into the city’s financial district. The area, near the junction of Silom and Rama IV highway, was the scene of clashes a week ago when five explosions killed one person and injured many more.
Thailand’s Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya has meanwhile said there is “no need for international intervention at this point in time”. “I think we’re very much in control of the situation and it’s still very much an internal affair of Thailand,” he said.
“We are a functioning government. We are in a position to handle the situation.”
Mr Kasit was quoted in The Jakarta Post as saying he had no doubt about the loyalty of the military, adding that a coup was unlikely.
“In my own personal experience, I have talked and worked with the military chiefs as a team as Thai foreign minister for 15 months. I have no doubt of the loyalty of the military,” the minister was quoted as saying.
He said his administration and the military were still attempting to convince red-shirts to return to their homes, and have vowed to end the crisis without resorting to force.
“But if the red-shirts continue to shoot and bomb people, we don’t exclude the use of force to disperse them. Of course, we will do it by upholding the rule of law,” he was quoted as saying.
The red-shirt leadership has denied it has stock-piled weapons or is shooting or bombing anyone.
Mr Kasit said the government was not considering imposing a deadline for the red-shirts to end their protests, saying, “we are dealing with humans so we must be patient”.
In his television address on Friday, Mr Abhisit said his government was listening to many groups, and considering many options but was not able to say what they were.

 
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