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PATTAYA, Thailand — A summit meeting of East Asian leaders intended to address the economic crisis and regional issues got off to a rocky start Friday when hundreds of protesters blocked the main entrance to the convention center where leaders were gathering.
The demonstrators left the grounds of the summit in the early evening Friday, but only after columns of military and police units had rushed to protect the hotel and convention center.
The disturbance offered leaders a close-up look at the political discord that is wrenching Thailand, some of it fueled by the economic crisis. Bangkok has been the scene of massive demonstrations against the prime minister in recent days.