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BANGKOK – Armored vehicles are moving in the streets of Thailand's capital following the announcement of a state of emergency aimed at stemming the tide of anti-government protest across the country.
Army spokesman Col. Sansern Kaewkamnerd says the military's presence Sunday in Bangkok is not a sign of an imminent coup but a measure to restore order.
Associated Press reporters saw several armored vehicles in a busy commercial area of the city not long after Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva announced the emergency in Bangkok and surrounding areas.
Thailand's embattled government was humiliated Saturday by demonstrators who shut down a 16-nation Asian summit.
They declared victory after Abhisit canceled the summit, where leaders of regional powers China, Japan and India, and the U.N. secretary-general and president of the World Bank, planned to discuss the global financial crisis.
BANGKOK, April 12 (Reuters) - Troops fired into the air as Thai anti-government protesters stormed the country's interior ministry on Sunday after Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva declared a state of emergency in the capital.
About 50 protesters broke through security at the interior ministry in Bangkok while Abhisit was in the building, but the prime minister escaped by car, a TV channel said.
Scores of red-shirted protesters were also gathering in the area around the police headquarters, but were not in the grounds, a witness said. Some had disabled the tracks of two armoured cars near the headquarters and others danced on top of the vehicles.
"If a national state of emergency is declared, the red shirt movement will regard the government's actions as a declaration of war against the people of Thailand.
"They will try to disperse the crowds, but we will remain at Government House. We will start a peoples' war. This declaration is war against the Thai people," he added.
Anti-government demonstrators cheer after taking over a Thai Army armored personnel carrier Sunday, April 12, 2009, in Bangkok, Thailand. Armored vehicles are moving in the streets of Thailand's capital following the announcement of a state of emergency aimed at stemming the tide of anti-government protest across the country.
BANGKOK, April 12 (Reuters) - Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva told anti-government demonstrators on Sunday to end their protests or face tough measures allowed under a state of emergency that he declared earlier in the capital.
April 12 (Reuters) - Britain and Singapore are the latest countries to issue travel advisories for Thailand where Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva has declared a state of emergency to quell political unrest which forced the cancellation of an Asia summit.
Troops fired into the air when anti-government protesters stormed Thailand's interior ministry after Abhisit declared the emergency, and supporters of former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra stormed the summit venue in the popular resort of Pattaya.
Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva, whose gentle treatment of protesters at an Asian summit led to its collapse in chaos, struck back on Sunday, declaring a state of emergency to quell protests in the capital.
Abhisit was humiliated on Saturday when his strategy of avoiding violence with red-shirted supporters of his nemesis, ousted premier Thaksin Shinawatra, backfired.
The emboldened protesters broke through a cordon of soldiers and hurtled through a glass facade at the media centre, shattering as well any chance the East Asia Summit would continue in the southern Thai beach resort of Pattaya.
BANGKOK, April 13 (Reuters) - The Thai army has started a crackdown on anti-government protesters and shooting was heard as they moved to secure a major junction in the capital, forcing back hundreds of protesters, a Reuters reporter said.
He said protesters threw stones and retreated to side streets. Fires blazed in the middle of Viphavadi-Rangsit, a main thoroughfare out of the city going to its north, close to Victory Monument.
BANGKOK, April 13 (Reuters) - A spokesman for the Thai army said on Monday that soldiers trying to clear a main road in the capital were fired at by anti-government protesters and shot back.
Colonel Sansern Kaewkamnerd told a radio station that troops fired into the air first in response to tear gas and smoke bombs thrown at them by protesters but then fired real bullets.
BANGKOK, April 13 (Reuters) - Anti-government protesters in Thailand hurled petrol bombs at troops at a major intersection in Bangkok on Monday after the military tried repeatedly to disperse them, a Reuters witness said.
About 500 troops repeatedly rushed at scores of protesters around the Din Daeng cloverleaf, firing warning shots at Bangkok's biggest intersection. Protesters responded by hurling at least a dozen petrol bombs at them, the witness said
...A Buddhist monk with a megaphone stood in the intersection pleading for calm and telling the soldiers: "Don't shoot, think about your country."
More than 10 soldiers had been wounded, mostly from being hit by buses driven by the protesters, he said.
An official at the government emergency medical service told Reuters they had treated 76 people.
Ousted prime minister Thaksin, regarded by most of the protesters as their leader, called for a revolution and said he might return from exile to lead it.
Thaksin fled the country last year, before a court convicted him in absentia of violating a conflict of interest law.
"Now that they have tanks on the streets, it is time for the people to come out in revolution. And when it is necessary, I will come back to the country," he said in a telephoned message to followers outside Abhisit's office.
The message was broadcast over a video link projected on giant screens and relayed on supporters' Internet sites.