Clashes between army and "redshirts" in Bangkok. Opposition TV closed
Bangkok (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The "Red Shirts" stormed an army base in Bangkok, waging a serious battle with the military. During the night the Thai authorities again shut down broadcasts of the "Peoples Channel" TV, the satellite station linked to antigovernment protesters and accused of fomenting violence and spreading false information.
The political crisis in Thailand is rapidly deteriorating, between the Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva and protesters close to former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra in exile and supported by the opposition party United Front for Democracy Against Dictatorship (UDD). The "red shirts" are calling for the dissolution of parliament and early elections. Towards one o'clock in the afternoon (local time), about 200 "red shirts" engaged in a serious battle with the military, in Bangkok, opposite the headquarters of the 1st Army Region. Protesters brandished sticks and bottles, the soldiers responded with water cannons and rubber bullets. According to early reports at least 90 people have been injured.
Premier Abhisit confirms the Government's intention to "mobilize all forces and necessary legal measures" to end the protests. Last night the Chief Executive again ordered the closure of the "People's Channel" channel close to the opponents and accused of fomenting violence. Yesterday the "red shirts" had surrounded the headquarters of the company Thaicom, penetrated the building and had forced the resumption of broadcasting. Some of the soldiers charged with defending the area were shown to sympathize with the protesters exchanging smiles and handshakes.
The images, captured by television cameras, have angered Abhisit, who fears the loss of support of the army. "The public - said the prime minister - is upset, hurt and discouraged by the scenes we have seen." Hours later police raided the building regaining control of Thaicom and, for the second time, shut down the broadcast signal of the opposition TV.