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BANGKOK – Emboldened anti-government protesters briefly stormed Thailand's Parliament building Wednesday, as lawmakers scaled the compound's walls to flee and a Black Hawk helicopter evacuated those trapped by the encircling crowd.
"Red Shirt" protesters, following one of their most hardcore leaders, smashed through the compound's gate with a truck and rushed into the building while Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban and other lawmakers were still inside. But the protesters later withdrew from the building at the request of opposition legislators.
The government security agency, known as CAPO, sent a Black Hawk helicopter carrying five soldiers armed with M-16 rifles to fly the ministers and lawmakers to safety, the agency said in a statement. INN television said Suthep was among those evacuated.
Tens of thousands of Red Shirts have been camped in Bangkok since March 12, when protests started in the historic heart of the capital. They say they will continue protests until Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva, who they claim came to power illegitimately, dissolves Parliament and calls new elections.
Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva later declared a state of emergency in Bangkok, handing the army broad powers to restore order.
The government already had placed Bangkok under the strict Internal Security Act.
But a state of emergency includes more sweeping powers. It gives the military authority to restore order and allows authorities to suspend certain civil liberties and ban all public gatherings of more than five people.
strict Internal Security Act
Originally posted by MikeboydUS
Thailand announces state of emergency in capital
(visit the link for the full news article)
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.
Still, some have suggested that security forces are sympathetic to the protesters' cause and unwilling to get tough.
"Also, for the first time, the prime minister must have started questioning the loyalty of the police and some in the military," the editorial said.
Originally posted by m0r1arty
Yay for me being in Thailand!!
Will update you if anything occurs, but these guys at good at keeping their politics to themselves for the best part. I don't think tourists and foreigners are at any risk.