Thai military, riot police deployed to thwart Reds from entering financial district

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Bankok, April19 (ANI): Fears of a standoff between the Thai government and the opposition 'Red Shirts' has prompted the former to deploy hundreds of troops in Silom financial district.

Armed soldiers are patrolling both streets and overpasses with shotguns, assault rifles and riot shields. They have also stacked barbwire on the roadside. According to the acting government spokesman, Panitan Wattanayagorn, "There are several units currently armed to defend themselves from attacks by terrorists who are hiding among the protesters."

Wattanayagorn, however, declined to comment on whether a crackdown was imminent against the protesters demanding the ouster of Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva and his government. "The plan to retake the area remains, but operational units will analyze how and when to avoid confrontation and clashes," he said.

This is the first such deployment since a failed crackdown on anti-government protesters on April 10 that left 25 people dead and over 800 injured.

Weng Tojirakarn, the leader of the Reds', said protesters would not mobilize in the financial district because soldiers would resort to force there. He said they would rather go to the UN office to seek justice and protest peacefully. (ANI)

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