19 more dead, 800 injured in Thai political violence

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Bangkok (Thailand), Apr.11 (ANI): Fugitive former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra has said that he is quite traumatised by the violent confrontations between his Red Shirt supporters and Thai soldiers on Saturday.

The clashes on Saturday resulted in at least 19 deaths and more than 800 injured.

"Thaksin would like the red-shirts to use their own discretion whether they want to carry on fighting or end the protest," the Bangkok Post quoted an opposition Puea Thai Party MP, as saying.

A fund will be set up to assist people who have been injured or killed in the clashes on Saturday, Jatuporn said.

He said Shinawatra will also gather funds to help the victims besides the Puea Thai Party and the UDD.

"Red-shirt teams would be sent to various hospitals to check the number of red-shirt casualties if there are no clear figures by this afternoon," he said.

A Los Angeles Times report said anti-government demonstrators and Thai troops battled in the streets of Bangkok for most of Saturday in a conflagration of grenades, gasoline bombs and rubber bullets.

Hundreds of the demonstrators also forced their way into government offices in two northern cities, raising the stakes for Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva and his military-backed government.

"The situation at the moment is so confused," the paper quoted Pranee Thiparat, a political science professor at Bangkok's Chulalongkorn University, as saying.

He added: "Anarchy rules Bangkok!"

In a televised address, Prime Minister Vejjajiva said: "The government and I are still responsible for easing the situation and trying to bring peace and order to the country."

The "Red Shirt" protesters, mostly drawn from rural and working-class communities, are demanding that Vejjajiva dissolve parliament, step down and hold a general election.

The demonstrators want an end to what they see as entrenched rule by the rich and powerful.

Thaksin, a billionaire, was ousted in a 2006 coup, charged by military officials with corruption and abuse.

The army has warned that it will act if the Red Shirts don't back down. (ANI)

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